The connection between Phoebe Bridgers and Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst is well established by this point: the two are bandmates in Better Oblivion Community Center, and both have traded covers of each other’s songs on separate occasions. It’s a mutual appreciation society, but one that can extend beyond the fandom they have for one another.
Today, we get proof of that as Bright Eyes have employed Bridgers to guest on their cover of Elliott Smith’s ‘St. Ides Heaven’. The song is one of many that will appear on the band’s upcoming EP Letting off the Happiness: A Companion, a re-interpretation of the band’s second studio album Letting Off the Happiness.
‘St. Ides Heaven’ didn’t appear on the original LP, but there’s always room for a solid Elliott Smith cover, especially one featuring Bridgers. Smith’s original version of the song appeared on his self titled sophomore studio album, where it was one of a number of wistful and folky tracks that established Smith outside his work with Heatmiser.
Bright Eyes opt not to replicate Smith’s gentle coo. Instead, the band plug in and rock out a little bit. Oberst and Bridgers replicate the delicate harmonies that Smith produced himself back in the day, but the clear duet that Smith is doing between his two voices isn’t attempted on the Bright Eyes version. Bridgers’ contributions are a bit difficult to hear, but she’s definitely there, buried beneath the raucous guitar lines and scattered cymbals.
Letting off the Happiness: A Companion is part of Bright Eyes’ new project that finds the group re-recording some of their earliest material from their first three albums. The new EP version of Letting off the Happiness is already set to feature Waxahatchee and M. Ward, so throwing Pheobe Bridgers in is just the icing on top of the indie cake.
Check out the cover of ‘St. Ides Heaven’ down below.