Okkervil River: The Stage Names (UN Spin)

 |   |  <1 min read

Okkervil River: Unless It's Kicks
Okkervil River: The Stage Names (UN Spin)

At his most dramatic, OkkRiver singer Will Sheff sounds like a heavily caffeinated Richard Thompson (the ripping opener Our Life is Not A Movie) or Morrissey with a very nasty attitude (on Unless It Kicks which is like a seriously angry Smiths). His voice is pushed to its upper register and he sings with a passion that is rare.

That both of those connections are English may seem surprising given Okkervil River are from Texas -- but they have the Anglo-indie quality about them which means they are also high on the melody count and have some alarming and wry lyrics.

The song Plus Ones up the count by one and refer to number songs by ? and the Mysterians, the Byrds, Lionel Richie, REM, Paul Simon, Bowie and others. On the other hand Savannah Smiles is a moving piece about reading your daughter's diary and the parental ache when innocence (of both daughter and parent) is lost forever.

Everywhere this album bristles with melody and memorable songs which musically or lyrically refer to pop music and pop culture, often in a very witty and/or thoughtful way.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Low Speed Bus Chase: Breathe (lowspeedbuschase.com)

Low Speed Bus Chase: Breathe (lowspeedbuschase.com)

Singer Jack Parker here is a graduate of Graeme Downes' excellent popular music course at Otago University but this band -- which formed in Dunedin -- is now based in Melbourne . . . and one listen... > Read more

Malcolm Middleton: Sleight of Heart (FullTimeHobby/Rhythmethod)

Malcolm Middleton: Sleight of Heart (FullTimeHobby/Rhythmethod)

This astringent Scottish singer-songwriter and former Arab Strap member appeared at Elsewhere previously with his excellent album A Brighter Beat, the opening track of which was the brittle but... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST MUSICIAN ADAM McGRATH OF THE EASTERN on what drives their new album, The Territory

GUEST MUSICIAN ADAM McGRATH OF THE EASTERN on what drives their new album, The Territory

It'd be good to know exactly where it's at. I mean the what it is, the what it was and what it shall be, are hard enough but the elusive “where it's at” creates all kinds of... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . VIRGIN RECORDS: From prog to punk, Bells to Bodies

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . VIRGIN RECORDS: From prog to punk, Bells to Bodies

Although a considerable amount of other music happened in New Zealand during the Eighties – and some still feel aggrieved their effort and output goes under-acknowledged – there was a... > Read more