Having largely evoked band leader Conor Oberst folk influences, it’s not surprising that many were taken aback when Bright Eyes released an album* where synthesizers were as prominent as acoustic guitars were elsewhere.
Most of the reception was a knee jerk reaction, calling it poorly conceived and shoddily executed. Personally, though, I love it. The doomsday keyboards are a fitting accoutrement to Obersts’ fatalist lyrics, and his strained voice adds a humanity not often found in electronic music. Although, it’s important to note that this isn’t an electronica album per se: rather, it merely uses the genre as a mouthpiece to accomplish its ends. And if that’s the intent, the record meets its purpose beautifully.
*in the nature of accuracy, I am inclined to inform that Digital Ash was one of two records released simultaneously–the other features only acoustic instrumentation.