You won’t find a “single sulky-teenager sentiment” on Conor Oberst’s new album, said Margaret Wappler in the Los Angeles Times. Once an adolescent folkie with big dreams of becoming the next Bob Dylan, the Omaha native is now nearly 30. But Outer South, his disappointing second album with the Mystic Valley Band, suggests that it may be time “for the onetime wunderkind to get back in touch” with his younger self, and strike back out on his own. As much as Oberst likes to claim he’s just a guy in a band, he has always possessed a “solo vision,” said Joshua Love in Pitchforkmedia.com. He tries hard to buck that image here, sharing the mic—and the pen—with his mates for nearly half the songs. There’s nothing wrong with their spirited alt-country efforts, but none measures up to even the “most mundane” of Oberst’s solo numbers. His move toward modesty is admirable, but the scattered, sprawling Outer South could’ve used a “fearless leader.”
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