Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst's surprise album as Better Oblivion Community Center showcases the complementary talents of two of America's most talented songwriters
Better Oblivion Community Center is a surprise new duet album from Pasadena, California’s Phoebe Bridgers and Nebraska indie rocker Conor Oberst. With just a Twitter account and some strategically placed advertising boards pointing the way to the duo's eponymous album, it’s a low stakes, but no less enjoyable, venture from a prolific pair of artists.
Opener Didn’t Know What I Was In For ploughs a similar vein to Would You Rather, the duo’s previous collaboration on Bridgers' 2017 album Stranger in the Alps, with her 'To fall asleep I need white noise to distract me / Otherwise I have to hear me think' edging out a strong field of contenders for best line.
Elsewhere, the ten tracks take in theremin-assisted alt country (Chesapeake), chunky alt-rock (Big Black Heart) and the type of strummed emo-flecked folk songs that Oberst made his name with (Service Road) with Bridgers on ethereal harmonies. Best of all are the unspooling guitar solos of the raucous but tender Dylan Thomas and the reflective musings of Forest Lawn, an Obesrt led track with the album’s best melody.
Better Oblivion Community Center isn’t an obvious step forward for either artist but it’s a generous and grounded collection of songs, showcasing the complementary talents of two of America’s most talented songwriters. By the crackling close of final track Dominos, you’re more than glad they opened their doors.
Listen to: Dylan Thomas, Forest Lawn