Artist – Album: Okkervil River – The Stage Names
Released: 7th August 2007
Sounds Like: Hardly the Stand-ins
“Let me go home, let me go home, I wanna go home, let me go home, Why don't you let me go home? I have a blog to write, I don’t even know what the album is yet”
This sentiment may become all the more familiar to my soon-to-be housemate in the coming months, but tonight was the first that I had real cause to use it, with tonight being the first of potentially many completely impromptu piss-ups with the best mate.
Thankfully, being left with an hour to review an Okkervil River album is something that I feel that I am more than equipped to deal with, considering they’re one of the most reliably gifted bands of the last ten years. Will Sheff consistently delivers his dramatic vocals that are part lamentable but part perfect indie, whilst his intelligent lyrics are no less clever here than on the awesome previous album Black Sheep Boy. The rest of the band seem to have found a new found confidence that turns them bombastic at times, such as on the never-more-theatrical ‘Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe’, one of the absolute highlights of the record. ‘A Girl in Port’ proves the band aren’t all about high intensity rock, however, as it’s country tinged brilliance comes close to stealing the show. The knowing references of ‘Plus Ones’ is also a highlight, as is the album closer ‘John Allyn Smith Sails’, a strange mix of the Beach Boys’ ‘Sloop John B’ and Sufjan Stevens.
Being that I’m a little bit drunk, listening to this album for the first time only half an hour ago, and I have just 25 minutes to finalise and finish my post, it would be easiest for me to dismiss the album as complete tosh. It honestly is a huge complement that I’m driven to do the almost complete opposite –viewing the album as one of the modern greats and giving it a glowing reference that is almost more than my lazy imagination can cope with. As previously explained on April’s Black Sheep Boy blog (http://analbumadaykeepsthebluesaway.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/5th-april-okkervil-rivers-black-sheep.html), these guys are brilliant.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
1. Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe – 4:23
2. Unless It’s Kicks – 4:38
3. A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene – 3:59
4. Savannah Smiles – 3:38
5. Plus Ones – 3:43
6. A Girl in Port – 6:36
7. You Can’t Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man – 4:53
8. Title Track – 5:22
9. John Allyn Smith Sails – 4:33
Listen to ‘Plus Ones’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaXvayF2vog