Album Review Bright Eyes - Noise Floor (Rarities 1998-2005)

If any artist has the back catalogue to carry off a rarities collection, it’s Conor Oberst. With that in mind, ‘Noise Floor’ can’t be too bad, can it?

The words ‘rarities collection’ inspire a shudder in the most hardy of music fans, it’s true. Usually, rarities are rare for a reason - they were never considered good enough for mass appraisal, and more often than not, collections like ‘Noise Floor’ are between album stop-gaps released to remind the public who exactly the artist in question is.

But noone, surely, can have forgotten Bright Eyes, whose breathtaking album ‘Digital Ash In A Digital Urn’ was one of the highlights of 2005. If any artist has the back catalogue to carry off a rarities collection, it’s Conor Oberst. With that in mind, ‘Noise Floor’ can’t be too bad, can it?

Unfortunately, opener ‘Mirrors And Fevers’ is surely the most pointless three minutes ever recorded to tape, consisting as it does of two-and-a-half minutes of background noise followed by thirty seconds of what appears to be an a capella attempt at amateur karaoke. Frankly, it’s so bad Pete Doherty wouldn’t have put it up for download, much less tried to persuade anyone to buy it.

With that out of the way, it gets better - well, it can’t really get worse - and the next few tracks are fairly standard Bright Eyes fare, although admittedly toward the poorer end of the scale. ‘Drunk Kid Catholic’ shows off Conor’s heartfelt vocals rather nicely, but really things don’t look up until the foot-tapping drumbeat of ‘Blue Angels Air Snow’. And even then you can’t help but think you’ve heard all of this, but better, on the albums.

Leave ‘Noise Floor’ to the diehards; go and buy ‘Digital Ash…’ instead.

 

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