Bright Eyes: Fevers and Mirrors, a Companion EP

This is the third companion EP in a series of new EPS recently issued by American band Bright Eyes. The new EPs accompany a re-issue of the original albums.

Fevers and Mirrors (original album), facts and stats: Fevers and Mirrors is the third album by Bright Eyes, released by Saddle Creek Records in 2000 and re-issued a number of times (as of writing there are 22 versions listed on Discogs). The Japanese 2000 CD issued by Bad News Records has alternate album art and two extra tracks, “The Joy in Discovery” (a shorter and heavily edited version of the track with the same name released previously on the 2000 split EP Bright Eyes/Ambulance – Insound Tour Support Series No. 12) and “Jetsabel Removes the Undesirables”.

The Forty-Five commented that Fevers and Mirrors is “something of a concept album. It features a mysterious character, Arienette, and is punctuated with recurring images of fevers, clocks and calendars. Its overarching theme is an obsession with the relentless march of time and decay, but less distorted than its predecessors. For the band, it was a much more “listenable” record in the traditional sense, but with a hidden darkness that when uncovered, makes it less palatable than predecessors Collection or Letting off the Happiness”. The NME said: “The music is lovely, ornate but understated arrangements betraying the helping hands of members of the excellent Lullaby For The Working Class, a subtle backing for Oberst to rasp and sob through twelve songs with far too many words in them”.

Companion EP: there are five new recordings of tracks from the album. The core band for the Companion EP is made up of leader Conor Oberst (vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar), Clark Baechle on drums and multi-instrumentalists Nathaniel Walcott and Mike Mogis. Frequent Oberst collaborator and pal Phoebe Bridgers (solo artist and Better Oblivion Community Center) sings on four of the tracks.

In respect of the new versions: “Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh” and “Arienette” have been modernised with programming by Clark Baechle; the latter has also been enhanced with violin by Paul Cartwright, bass clarinet by Brian Walsh and additional vocals by Miwi La Lupa. The new version of “A Scale, A Mirror And Those Indifferent Clocks” has more music range than the original and “A Spindle, A Darkness, A Fever, And A Necklace” is revisited by losing the spoken word intro and acoustic tone in favour of an electronic interpretation. The new version of “When The Curious Girl Realizes She Is Under Glass” is improved by more polished production.

The additional sixth track is a cover of Lullaby for the Working Class’s “Hypnotist (Song For Daniel H)” (from their 1997 album I Never Even Asked For Light). With additional vocals provided by A.J. Mogis, it’s a spooky and interesting interpretation.

Note: Companion EP available on gold vinyl and download.



Label: Dead Oceans
Release Date: 27 MAY 2022