Oh Holy Fools is an even split of songs shared between two bands: Bright Eyes and Son, Ambulance. Indie favorite Bright Eyes released 2000’s unofficial manifesto on the effects of depression on a young musician, Fevers and Mirrors. And the latest thing to come out of Omaha, Son, Ambulance, the alias of Joe Knapp, who has worked with Bright Eyes on recordings in the past. (This is Son, Ambulance’s first venture into recording before releasing its upcoming full-length debut in summer 2001.)
The CD consists of eight tracks, alternating back and forth between the two bands. Oh holy fools, these songs are brightly shining.
There is a strong contrast between Son, Ambulance’s innocent, upbeat songs and Bright Eyes’ cynical, melancholic, modern-minstrel rhyming.
But it seems Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes’ main creator) has taken a (baby) step from his signature brand of depression songs. Aside from “No Lies, Just Love”, the songs are slightly mellower, happier and less begrudging. Maybe the depressive theme is wearing thin for Conor, himself. “I try hard not to be annoyed by all these people worrying about me.” It’s hard for the listener to take that lyric seriously when his voice still quavers with such uncertainty and nervousness.
It is nearly impossible not to be moved by “Kathy with a K’s Song”, a proclamation on how love surrounds us, we should only be so brave to open our eyes to witness it. “It is fact and it is standing here right in front of you.”
Oh Holy Fools is an exquisite collection of songs with themes of the innocence of childhood, love and beauty. Current fans of Bright Eyes will be able to make the easy transition to become fans of the gentle, pure songs of Son, Ambulance. And if you aren’t a fan of Bright Eyes already, wake up! This gleaming little star is passing you by.