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

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti)

At the end of the local edition of this exceptional album -- Tom Waits' first studio album in seven years -- there is a disconcerting litany of images entitled with seeming certainty After You Die,... > Read more

Beady Eye: BE (Sony)

Beady Eye: BE (Sony)

In the wake of the Oasis fallout, Liam Gallagher basically walked away with the band renamed as Beady Eye, and songwriting brother Noel got to go his own way, free from the shackles of being stuck... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BACKBEAT, ASTRID KIRCHHERR AND THE YOUNG BEATLES ON FILM (1994): The Birth of the Beat

BACKBEAT, ASTRID KIRCHHERR AND THE YOUNG BEATLES ON FILM (1994): The Birth of the Beat

His letters back home don’t tell the whole story. But such letters seldom do. He says there are plenty of girls “but none of us can be bothered” and that he is “not the... > Read more

THE EMPIRE CITY; SONGS OF WELLINGTON by ANDREW LAKING and BOB KERR (VUP book/CD)

THE EMPIRE CITY; SONGS OF WELLINGTON by ANDREW LAKING and BOB KERR (VUP book/CD)

With historic photos, and subtle, evocative paintings by Bob Kerr (perhaps most fondly remembered for his terrific Terry and the Gunrunners comic book series), this book/CD by writer and... > Read more