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Okkervil River
I Am Very Far - Jagjaguwar
FILTER Grade: 86%

By Jeffrey Brown on June 1, 2011

 

Okkervil River

Okkervil River followed up its critically acclaimed 2007 album The Stage Names with a companion album, The Stand Ins, which fit snugly both in sound and theme. By the second track of I Am Very Far, it’s abundantly clear that the Austin band has done things differently on its latest album. The haunting beats of “Piratess” don’t indicate where the album heads next so much as serve notice that more careful listening will be rewarded. Frontman Will Sheff’s lyrics are just as smart and full of twists as before, managing to be both cryptic and evocative, and while the album is overall less poppy than the last two, it has just as many hooks. The feel is melancholic and reflective, despite being punctuated by a few uptempo tracks, but the urgency of Sheff’s vocals and rich, layered arrangements make I Am Very Far both fascinating and memorable.

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