American indie rockers Bright Eyes have returned to announce an ambitious new project entitled Companion. Featuring EPs of newly re-recorded material from the band’s past, the new venture will also feature some prominent guests to help bring the new versions of the band’s older music to life.
“It’s a meaningful way to connect with the past that doesn’t feel totally nostalgic and self-indulgent,” singer Conor Oberst says in a statement. “We are taking these songs and making them interesting to us all over again. I like that. I like a challenge. I like to be forced to do something that’s slightly hard, just to see if we can.”
To kick off the new project, Bright Eyes have revitalized three tracks from their first three albums: ‘Falling Out of Love at This Volume’, which was featured on their debut A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995–1997; ‘Contrast and Compare’, from their sophomore LP Letting Off the Happiness; and ‘Haligh, Haligh, a Lie, Haligh’, from their third album Fevers and Mirrors.
The first track is just the band reinterpreting themselves, but the latter two songs feature some big names as special guests. ‘Contrast and Compare’ features the unmistakable vocal stylings of American folk hero Waxahatchee, giving the already folky track a palpable rootsy edge. The song becomes a duet, languidly unfurling with mandolins and trumpets pouring into the song’s wonderfully breezy arrangement.
But it’s ‘Haligh, Haligh, a Lie, Haligh’ that carries the biggest name: American indie rock icon Phoebe Bridgers. Oberst and Bridgers are bandmates in the band Better Oblivion Community Center, so they already have a notable connection. Bridgers doesn’t have as big of a role in ‘Haligh, Haligh, a Lie, Haligh’ as Waxahatchee has in ‘Contrast and Compare’, but Bridgers’ voice pops out of the chorus in a great way.
Check out the trailer for the Companion project, plus the first three newly re-recorded songs, down below.