Editors’ NotesCassadaga contains epic songs filled with colorful snapshots of American places and characters, and it aims to cover some ground. There are allusions to current events, politics, and injustices past and present, shadowy metaphors, clever one-liners, and the kind of nakedly personal songs that first earned Conner Oberst his reputation. He packs a lot of lyrics into these tunes — many are engaging and some are delightfully impenetrable, but they're certainly never dull. Some talented guests, including Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, and M. Ward, join Oberst here but it’s his regular bandmates who are the glue. Multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis (who also ably produced the album) and Nate Walcott (various keyboards) are particularly inventive, creating an exuberant, sprawling blend of country shuffles, folk rock, and dreamy ballads with organ, swooping strings, and weepy pedal-steel guitar. The skillful production and attention to detail make this Bright Eyes’ most polished release, and the sonic textures, ambient sounds, and snatches of conversation work well overall. Ambitious and cohesive, Cassadaga presents an intriguing twist on the band’s brand of folk music.