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Four Winds EP

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, EP, March 6, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

US only release! This single includes five exclusive b-sides. Retaining the simmering glow of its predecessors, ("Digital Ash In A Digital Urn" and "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"), "Four Winds" is full of the magic that brought Bright Eyes to international attention. Carefully played, deftly poetic, and quietly enchanting, it has a wandering country charm and all of the storytelling seductiveness of earlier work. Look for the new full-length, "Cassadaga" on April 10th.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 6, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: EP
  • Label: Saddle Creek
  • ASIN: B000MTPAKY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,496 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Apparently someone turned on some vintage rock'n'roll around Conor Oberst, because the Bright Eyes' latest EP is very different from their last two albums. Instead, the "Four Winds" EP embraces an entirely different sound -- countryish, folksy, and with a dash of music-hall at times.

"Your class, your caste, your country, sect, your name or your tribe/There's people always dying trying to keep them alive," Oberst sings in the title song, tearing through a dour song over a rootsy fiddle and guitar, Mexican girl murals, long shadows, the US's existance, and crumbling society.

It's followed up by the strings and alt-rock of "Reinvent the Wheel," and the quietly folksy "Smoke Without Fire." But then it's off to rock'n'roll-land, with the sizzling slow-burn riffs of "Stray Dog Freedom," distorted country-rock of "Cartoon Blues." And he finally finishes it off with a sort of ghostly folk song, full of harmonica and tapping feet. It sounds like a ghost town's theme song.

Conor Oberst always seems to be diddling around with new sounds -- the last two Bright Eyes albums were basically in two entirely different styles. And "Four Winds" shows us a more uptempo, country-inflected side of the band, without losing the doom'n'gloom sociopolitical lyrics.

The music is pretty straightforward -- lots of acoustic guitar, some strings that can shimmer or twang, and the occasional bit of harmonica. And some rapid-clashing piano in music-hall style. And he diddles around with distortion that twists an otherwise ordinary song into a bizarroworld pop tune, with a "baby" voice echoing his.

Despite the upbeat note of most of the music, Oberst always sounds on the verge of tears.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is always scary to hear the hyperbolic comparisons journalists love to give certain musicians when they've accomplished what may be their best work to date. In Conor's case it was also a curse that he ahd to get rid of.

By sampling only the tip of what Cassadag awill be, Four winds EP gives us a new respire and new reasons to believe Bright Eyes cannot and will not be tied down to allegories of "the new this" or "the young that" that its lead singer received two years ago.

Opening track Four winds is a more upbeat song if we compared it to anything included in I'm awake it's morning", while 'Smoke without fire". duet with M. Ward takes us back to the times when he was relatively unknown and his ballads sounded like a cry more than a song/ 'Stray dog freedom" explores more the sound of southern rock with louder guitars and a more proper verse-chous-verse structure. Closing track "tourist trap" proves to be the real gem, like in most of his previous EPs.

Although a tease for those of us waiting for the complete album, this EP is worth every penny. Get it, enjoy it, and find out why Bright Eyes music makes the fans rave and passionately love them.
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Format: Audio CD
After listening to the new CD single "Four Winds", I am so wet for the forthcoming Bright Eyes album CASSADAGA!

There are 5 non-album tracks on the single. All of them bloody brilliant. The things Conor throws away would make a Dylan out of Robin Thicke!

"Reinvent The Wheel" is among the finest songs Oberst has ever written. Lines like..."the TV sets will tell us when someone reinvents the wheel / till then I'll have a million conversations about s___ that isn't real' ...cut to the bone atop a bed of bouncy pop guitars, Springstonian harmonicas & Opry strings.

A collaboration with M. Ward on "Smoke Without Fire" is dark and brooding.

I was among the few who preferred "Digital Ash" over "Wide Awake". One reason was the line..."my stray dog freedom / let's have a nice clean cut / like a bag we buy and divvy up". Here he offers up "Stray Dog Freedom" in a whole other context. With a sublime guitar lick that is rooted in mid '70's AM rock, Conors' dog is a Cerberus beast that faintly resembles the smoldering remains of the "American Dream". Again, it's among his best work ever.

As is "Cartoon Blues", proving for the umpteenth time that there is nothing this kid cannot do.

The "Four Winds" disc is beyond a shadow of a doubt the finest CD single I have ever heard.

I can't wait for this album!
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Format: Audio CD
This is a good ep from Connor, even though if, from what I've heard of Cassadega, it may contain some better songs than his upcoming album. But, nevertheless, this is great, and I really hope further listening will make Cassadega come alive for me. I don't know why, but, even with the folkish greatness of Four Winds, Connor has chosen to pursue the country side of his sprawling LP, Lifted or The Story Is In the Soil Put Your Ear To the Ground, rather than the beautiful folk/indie stuff from his earlier, more brilliant Fevers and Mirrors and Every Day And Every Night. He explores a little of that on Cartoon Blues and Reinvent the Wheel, but he seems to be countrifying his new stuff. Which, frankly, is a little disapointing, because, while every Bright Eyes song is a work of genious, he seems to be teetering a little too close to the country side of American radio for my liking. But, like I said, I hope it does get better than my initial perception is telling me. Buy this ep and his older stuff and hope for the best.
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