Conor Oberst's musical scope, judging from Bright Eyes' history, is tightly tethered to the singer-songwriter's physical location.
Over 13 years, Oberst's fret-buzzing folk left the bland stretches of suburbia and lit out for the country, expanding into the orchestral indie-Americana of two critical blockbusters: Lifted, or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. For what's said to be the last Bright Eyes album, Oberst turns to that final frontier: space.
The People's Key is ethereal, otherworldly and apocalyptic. For all the places he's been, though, Oberst isn't so far from his early emotional roots: Death obsessed like a teenager/Sold my tortured youth, piss and vinegar, he sings on "Shell Games" before confessing, I'm still angry with no reason to be. Reasonable or not, Oberst's melodic discontent has inspired legions of shivering folk wannabes. Wipe your eyes and pay your dues.
Bright Eyes. Saturday, April 2, at the Uptown Theater.