On his self-titled solo debut, Conor Oberst seems to be looking for an escape, said Amanda Petrusich in Pitchforkmedia.com. Even as the founder and frontman of Bright Eyes, Oberst sounded “perennially uncomfortable, muscles tight and prepped to spring away from the microphone.” The Omaha native runs for the border here, recording in Tepoztlán, Mexico. It’s not the first time he’s left town in search of something; 2007’s Cassadaga had him wandering U.S. byways in pursuit of the American dream. Conor Oberst is a “rough-hewn, death-haunted travelogue,” said Will Hermes in Rolling Stone. No longer a barking teenager, Oberst has grown a little older and a lot less angry while on the road. But this album “proves that while you can run from home, you can’t run from yourself.” He’s still playing country-infused rock in its rawest form. “Lenders in the Temple” finds him fingerpicking, Hank Williams–style. He’s still channeling his inner Bob Dylan on “Get-Well-Cards.” Conor Oberst aspires to be a “statement of grown-upitude” from the still-young Oberst, said Josh Modell in Spin. He may not be there yet, but Oberst is on his way to becoming a “songwriter for the ages.”
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