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

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

These days genre-ignoring bands are so common they require no introduction or explanation. But few are as provocative as Alt-J out of Cambridge, England who pull together slivers of... > Read more

SubAudible Hum: In Time For Spring, On Came The Snow (Inertia)

SubAudible Hum: In Time For Spring, On Came The Snow (Inertia)

The Melbourne-based outfit open this, their second album, with a pulsating electronic track which is increasingly dense and chant-like, and sounds like U2's guitarman the Edge has also been roped... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Moroccan Roast Beef inna barbecue style

Moroccan Roast Beef inna barbecue style

If you don't have a barbecue with a lid you might want to do this one in the oven, but there is nothing quite like the steamy aroma of the Moroccan flavours when you open the lid to check on this... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

By the merest twist of fate, the history of popular American music 50 years ago could well have been very different if just one man had got a different job. Stephen Stills -- a wonderful... > Read more