Nothing New But As Vital and Brutal As Ever
'Four Winds' is a bright folk-imbued tune that blusters along full of gusto and condemnation with Conor Oberst at his finest and most scathing. Bright Eyes' sound needs little explanation and 'Four Winds' strays little from it.
Frolicking fiddles take the centre stage, twirling merrily for a full minute before Conor Oberst's wry vocals chip in with the vivid vitriol we've come to expect, "There's body decomposing in containers tonight". Luckily the tune is full of enough drive to prevent you getting too bogged down in the political message Oberst is advancing, not that you can avoid the charismatic singer's brutal words leaving a lasting memory. Oberst's ability to sing about the enemy (here religion, "The Bible's blind, the Torah's deaf, the Qu'ran's mute"), yet still energise the listener and make them feel included in his one-man protest remains amazing.
'Stray Dog Freedom' is chimed in by a looming guitar chord, which soon bends into a bluesy intro with a Dylan-esque twist to its country twang. Here it's the blazing guitar that's allowed to wind its merry way through an acapella section or two, while Oberst muses away, "It's the same old shit, still it's how you deal with it".