His trembling vocal, depressive introspection and alt-country affinity previously placed him comfortably alongside the likes of Wilco, and ‘Upside Down Mountain’ finds the singer maturing nicely.
Some of the fragile innocence may have been replaced by moments of casual philosophy and effortlessly grandiose anthemic pop (‘Zigzagging Toward The Light’, ‘Kick’), but Oberst can still throw out quietly stirring minor epics using little more than a guitar and quiet musings.
‘Desert Island Questionnaire’ in particular straddles the mundane banality of celebrity and the truly mournful, a line that this music seems set to cross perpetually.
Words: Mat Smith
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