Okkervill River: I Am Very Far (Jajaguwar)

 |   |  <1 min read

Okkervil River: Rider
Okkervill River: I Am Very Far (Jajaguwar)

The last appearance of Texas' Okkervil River was them providing emotional support and the musical context for damaged cult figure Roky Erickson on his exceptional, moving True Love Cast Out All Evil.

Their singer/songwriter Will Sheff is one of the smartest around (he writes the most extraordinary and emotionally insightful ballads) and has a keen sense of pop history which he draws on but adapts for his own purposes.

So while this one knocks off a bit of Springsteen's stadium bombast (Rider), a touch of string-stabbed blues-pop crunch (The Valley) and piano-hammered ELO-like pop (White Shadow Waltz) for attention-grabbing effect, it is in material like the quivering, melodically gorgeous, sensitively arranged ballad Lay of the Last Survivor, the desperate, reaching melodrama of We Need a Myth and slowly unveiling widescreen pop of Your Past Life as Blast where this really pulls you close.

Sometimes the clever-clogs embellishments (the electro-squiggles on Piratess, too much with the strings in places) detract from the raw material and the oddly Celtic Hanging from a Hit is an earnestly portentous plodder.

As always, Sheff writes songs you want to hear but with a cast of two dozen players this takes their open-hearted inclusiveness a bit far and sinks the lesser material. You might prefer to hear half of this in an unplugged session.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Rupa and the April Fishes: Este Mundo (Cumbancha)

Rupa and the April Fishes: Este Mundo (Cumbancha)

The implosion of Latin American party music, gypsy-swing, klezmer jazz and loping reggae is familiar enough in this country: from Kantuta, the Nairobi Trio and the Jews Brothers Band to the Mamaku... > Read more

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

This was either going to be brilliant, or . . .  First the background: here is the great soul-funk Hammond B3 organ player Booker T (he of Green Onions fame with the MGs, and that band... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Marianne Faithfull; Faithfull, A Collection of Her Best Recordings

THE BARGAIN BUY: Marianne Faithfull; Faithfull, A Collection of Her Best Recordings

Elsewhere will concede immediately that we have always been mostly unpersuaded by Marianne Faithfull's much acclaimed genius. Her self-belief is admirable but often the evidence on many albums has... > Read more

Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger le Monde (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger le Monde (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Recently while looking out music for a DJ night of African music I played dozens of tracks at home back-to-back searching for the best sounds . . . and one thing became very clear. Most of this... > Read more