Bright Eyes – Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was
Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was is the first album after Bright Eyes’ nine-year-long break. It is both adventurous and lovely, with an appetite for the lost and wandering. The record is full of dark notes imbued with charming melodies. It’s quite a long listen, and most of the songs have relatively the same theme, rhythm and vocal styling. But this isn’t necessarily a negative thing, given that it has been a while since their last release – though, it is still a lot to swallow in one sitting. Luckily, the structure of the playlist is linear rather than cyclical.
Pageturner’s Rag opens with Roaring Twenties jazz and wonder. It forms the image of a speakeasy shrouded in carnivalesque vibrance. This immersive tour of that era is enhanced by the track’s production, which creates atmosphere and echoes the turbulence of the music as it travels through different conversations and people, distributing soft lessons to listeners. Dance and Sing follows with its lulling melody, motif of guns and lyrics that dance around the topic of life and death.
Of the singles released, the standouts are Mariana Trench and Forced Convalescence. Like Dance and Sing, both songs use steady signature beats that draw listeners into a state of swaying euphoria. For the former, it elicits happy vibrations amidst darker lessons, gleaned through its treatment of money. Unlike the previous two, which use the guitar and drums as their main rhythmic guide, the latter focuses mostly on percussions and piano, using the guitar instead as an enhancer to create tone.
Comet Song is a wonderful closer. It circles back to those same jazzy hues with a softer edge and has an antithetic atmosphere to Pageturner’s Rag. This number’s lullaby sound signals the end of a night out and follows-up the rest of the album’s themes of death and growing up.
Listening to Bright Eyes always feels like you’re reading a book rather than listening to a record, and this is no exception. Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was explores themes of human greed and selfishness, ageing, passing away and questioning higher illusive powers. The mix of female vocals in parts diversifies this experience, with the lyricism blending into one another. This is very much a Bright Eyes album, and this mark of consistency is its strongest weapon.
Photo: Danny Cohen
Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was is released on 21st August 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Bright Eyes’s website here.
Watch the video for Mariana Trench here: