Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Okkvervil River: The Stand-Ins- Album Review

I have to confess that Okkervil River has always sounded like a more upbeat Shins to me.  Their new album, The Stand-Ins, does little to change that perception for me.

The album is the companion piece to their 2007 concept album The Stage Names.  Stand-Ins...Stage Names...get the theme?

There is some really good stuff in the 11 tracks on The Stand-Ins.  Unfortunately, there isn't enough of it.  Among the 11 tracks are actually 3 which are mere snippets of sound dividing up sections of the record.  So in reality we get only 8 new songs from the band.

Among the actual songs we get a nice assortment of indie pop ("Lost Coastlines"), alt. country stompers ("Singer Songwriter"), epic opuses ("Blue Tulip") and mid-tempo slacker anthems ("Starry Stairs").

The songs once again revolve on intelligent and heartfelt lyrics.  That helps make "Calling and Not Calling My Ex" one of the most clever happy-go-lucky kiss-off songs since, well, The Violent Femmes' "Kiss Off".

The Stand-Ins is a pretty good record.  But if you're only going to give me 8 songs I may as well throw The Shins' Chutes Too Narrow back in the CD player.

Best tracks: "Pop Lies", "Calling and Not Calling My Ex"

You can grab "Pop Lies" here: MP3

Okkervil River plays The Phoenix in Toronto on Oct. 12th with Crooked Fingers.

Track listing for The Stand-Ins:
  • Stand-Ins, One
  • Lost Coastlines
  • Singer Songwriter
  • Starry Stairs
  • Blue Tulip
  • Stand-Ins, Two
  • Pop Lie
  • On Tour With Zykos
  • Calling and Not Calling My Ex
  • Stand-Ins, Three
  • Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed On the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979


Chris N said...

I very much agree with your review. While there are some fantastic songs on The Stand Ins, it plays like half of an album.

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