Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst continues to earn his reputation as our most respected young troubadour with almost frightening ease. He's been recording since the age of 13, and for the past few years he's been tagged "rock's boy genius" by the music press. Now, with the release of these two albums, we have unequivocal proof that the 24 eyar-old Oberst belongs amid our lineage of great American songwriters. These albums are a soundly articulated slice of modern life rolled into two very different records, both bursting with all of the heartfelt poetry for which Bright Eyes' records have earned their acclaim. Of course, the rough edges haven't gone away - the palpitation of a splintering note, the crack of a voice as it overextends, the clumsy thump of a misplaced thumb. It's all still there. But there's a glorious new level of depth and a maturation of texture, writing and delivery.