Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Okkervil River: "I Am Very Far" (album review)

For more than a decade now, Okkervil River has been churning out stellar indie rock records.  On May 10th they release the latest entry in their catalogue, I Am Very Far.

The dark and forceful "The Valley" provides an intense opening.  "Piratess" is a seductive, yet sinister follow-up.

A bold string arrangement bullies its way into "We Need a Myth", elevating it from a nice ditty to a statement song.  A piano part on "Wake and Be Fine" works with strings to provide a wave to the punchy number.

"Rider" is one of the few straightforward rockers on the record.  It provides a strong transition, a palate-cleanser say, between the album's moods from the ominous to the whimsical "Lay of the Last Survivor".

There are a handful of songs that don't quite strike the right chord.  That's not to say that a track like the plodding "Show Yourself" or the drawn-out "The Rise" are bad, it just doesn't hold up alongside the balance of the record.

Minor quibbles aside, Will Sheff and company deliver in the end another solid effort that should keep you entertained as you peel back more and more layers with each listen.

Okkervil River plays The Phoenix in Toronto on June 10th.

Best tracks: "Wake and Be Fine", "Piratess"

Track listing for I Am Very Far:
  • The Valley
  • Piratess
  • Rider
  • Lay of the Last Survivor
  • White Shadow Waltz
  • We Need a Myth
  • Hanging From a Hit
  • Show Yourself
  • Your Past Life As a Blast
  • Wake and Be Fine
  • The Rise
Okkervil River's website

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