Conor Oberst releases album

David DeFina

It’s been said that in the sports world, consistency is key.

I know plenty of Yankees or Eagles fans who would agree with that statement.

In music, however, consistent artists run the risk of churning out album after album of the same bland, reprocessed fare.

Conor Oberst’s self-titled solo debut isn’t exactly bland, but it doesn’t break any new ground either.

Fans of Oberst’s best-known vehicle Bright Eyes are already well acquainted with the quivering vocals and melodramatic lyrics indicative of his work.

This time around, the lyrics continue to follow the nostalgic formula of recent Bright Eyes, a stark contrast to the heavy political overtones of earlier work.

Instrumentals consist of mostly light acoustic fare, notably the opener “Cape Canaveral” and the closer “Milk Thistle.”

Other tracks are catchy rockers, notably “Sausalito” and “Souled Out!!!” with the instrumentals on the latter similar to those of Desaparecidos, another of Oberst’s side projects.

“Conor Oberst” plays more like another Bright Eyes album, the predictable follow up to 2007’s “Cassadaga,” than anything else. Even the themes remain similar.

Oberst isn’t the first artist to proclaim, “There is nothing that the road cannot heal” (the central refrain from “Moab”), and he certainly will not be the last. Recycling a tried-and-true rock theme isn’t bland in and of itself, but all of “Cassadaga” already dealt with that theme.

Oberst, like the legions of sad swooners before him, will always seem out of place with the world he seems to lament.

Oberst seeks to get away from it all, whether it is on a house boat (“Sausalito”) or in a car (“Souled Out!!!”).

Oberst used to write cutting themes that made the listener think. For a lyricist once hailed as “Dylan-esque,” Oberst, like many other indie rock musicians, seems to have gotten complacent.

In the end, “Conor Oberst” is a relatively solid album easily accessible to new listeners.

However, long-time fans of Oberst or Bright Eyes may be disappointed to discover that the album offers the same tried and true formula previously used.