Album: Bright Eyes / Neva Dinova

One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels, Saddle Creek
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The Independent Culture

Omaha is hardly noted as a hotbed of musical activity. Until recently, the only band I could think of from the region was Bright Eyes, the vehicle for the prolific Nebraskan songwriter Conor Oberst. Now, I know of another Omaha combo: Neva Dinova, a triple-guitar-fronted group sharing credits with Bright Eyes on this six-track mini-album, the two bands taking turns to accompany each other on what appear to be paired songs viewing the same circumstances from different aspects. Well, not all that different: Neva Dinova's "Tripped" and Bright Eyes' "Black Comedy" both face the tribulations of break-up with a similarly jaundiced eye - "I'll miss you when you're gone, so just get out," demands the former - in a manner repeated by the other four songs. The futility of sustaining doomed relationships seems to be the shared concern, which can make for gloomy listening. This isn't exactly helped by the collaborative approach, with the cast of 14 players tending to muddy the material with too many poorly-mixed guitars, keys, horns and cellos. But there are compensations, mostly in Oberst's mordant drollery and contrary attitude. As he sings in "I'll Be Your Friend": "I guess it's a success - we're at our best when you're upset."

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