After a months-long campaign of new songs and few details, Bright Eyes have announced new album Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was, their first in nine years. The announcement comes with new song “Mariana Trench,” which gets an animated video treatment, and an extensive array of limited and deluxe variants for the physical double LP.
Following three previous singles, “Mariana Trench” solidifies the sound that listeners might expect on the band’s ninth full-length album of original music. There’s a somewhat restrained but very lyrical folk song in the tradition of band leader Conor Oberst transfigured by synths and scuttling drums and bass.
A press release offers some context on the album, stating “Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable. For Conor Oberst, coming back to Bright Eyes was a bit of that. A symbol of simpler times, vaguely nostalgic. And even though it wasn’t actually possible to go back to the way things were, even though there wasn’t an easy happy ending, there was a new reality left to work with.”
The double LP vinyl features a 2-inch die cut hole through the entire packaging revealing the LPs–which come in black, transparent red and transparent orange, and a red and light blue splatter on transparent teal that’s exclusive to Dead Ocean’s label group membership club, The Secretly Society–and an animated phenakistiscope etching on side D by Drew Tetz. A phenakistiscope is an illustration technique that created an early instance of animated motion by spinning the image quickly.