Much like Home, Vol. 4, Conor Oberst's collaboration with Spoon's Britt Daniel, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels is a meeting of the minds between Oberst and his friends Neva Dinova. That band's singer/songwriter, Jake Bellows, and Oberst got together in fall 2003 to collaborate on some songs, and though the results aren't quite as accomplished as either band's work on their own, the six songs here are pretty and entertaining enough to please both Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova fans. Though the bands have pooled their resources, Oberst's and Bellows' identity still shine through on their respective tracks. Bellows' rounded vocals sound even better in the context of the EP's relaxed, between-friends atmosphere: the dreamy, slightly twangy "Tripped," "Poison," and "Get Back" have a pleasantly broken-in sound that recalls not only Neva Dinova's own work, but a slightly edgier take on Ron Sexsmith's sound as well. Likewise, the Bright Eyes tracks don't stray too far from the lusher sound Oberst went for on Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground. "Black Comedy" is another piece of the bordering on melodramatic pop in which Oberst specializes; "I'll Be Your Friend" adds some over-the-top sax to a typically bouncy, lilting song that reflects the lighter side of Bright Eyes; and "Spring Cleaning" ends the EP on a simple, and simply pretty, acoustic note. More focused and thoughtful than many collaborations between musicians that are also friends, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels is hopefully the start of a beautiful musical friendship between Oberst and Bellows.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares