Just about 15 ago it was harder to imagine a bigger indie band than Conor Oberst’s Bright Eyes. The past nine years or so hadn’t seen any releases under that moniker, though Oberst has certainly stayed busy during the ’10s. Today, the band is releasing the second single from their highly-anticipated new album, which has not been officially announced yet.
The song has a swinging feel in the drums, eventually swirling and growing into an intricate pop song with the help of an enthusiastic gospel choir. While Oberst might take on a bit of a loung-ier cadence on this song, his lyrics still have that point-blank delivery we remember from iconic albums like I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.
Of course, Bright Eyes isn’t just Oberst, as the players on “Forced Convalescence” include Nathaniel Walcott on piano, mellotron, synthesizers, harpsichord, choir arrangement, Mike Mogis on electric guitar and Kip Skitter percussion, while the choir members included Jason McGee (conductor), James Connor, Quishima Dixon, Natalie Ganther, Anthony Johnson, Edward Lawson, Jennifer Lee, Sharetta Morgan-Harmon and Marquee Perkins. Not to mention, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers played bass on the song and Jon Theodore of The Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age played drum and percussion.
Earlier this year Bright Eyes had announced their signing with Dead Oceans, a label that’s released albums by Bleached, Kevin Morby, Mitski and more – as well as his own Better Oblivion Community band with Phoebe Bridgers, who’s also released records on the label. After announcing the signing and giving the news that a new album was on the way, the band released their first new song since 2011, “Persona Non Grata.”
The band had announced tour dates in the spring of this year, which of course have been interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak and stay-at-home orders throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Those dates are being reassessed, so fingers crossed they can be rescheduled in late 2020 or 2021.