Originally released in 2004, this split collaboration
between Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova marked yet another important juncture in
Connor Oberst’s road to indie acclaim. Although it initially consisted of six
songs, the reissue is expanded by the addition of four newly recorded tracks
and a running time that brings it closer to an actual LP. The result is a more
substantial offering that’s all the more striking the second time around.
In practice, Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova pretty much took
the same tack. Both bands specialized in a fragile, unassuming persona, a
solitary sound that emphasized a low gaze ambiance that borrowed heavily from
both Buckleys — Tim and Jeff — as well as Elliot Smith, Leonard Cohen, and on
moments of special inspiration, Bob Dylan. And yet, despite the brooding vocals
and wistful pacing, the solemn vulnerability creates a visceral impact that
resonates emphatically. The loping “I Know You” and “Tripped” are especially
noteworthy — the former an Oberst addition, the latter, an original entry from
Neva Dinova – and all the more remarkable for the way they segue so perfectly
together. Likewise, the latter’s fragile “Poison” and Bright Eyes’ “I’ll Be
Your Friend” create a brittle couplet that boasts an unassuming charm.
That meditative pulse remains consistent throughout. Indeed,
One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels serves
up a most intoxicating brew.
Standout Tracks: “I’ll Be Your Friend,” “Tripped” LEE ZIMMERMAN