Thursday, August 29, 2013

Okkervil River: "The Silver Gymnasium" (album review)

Over the course of six studio albums, Okkervil River has provided a pretty reliable brand of indie rock.  On September 3rd they give us their seventh, with the release of The Silver Gymnasium.

Okkervil River are never overt with their poppiness.  On "Lido Pier Suicide Car" they surreptitiously slip in a sharp hook.  "Pink-Slips" will get your toes tapping.

The standout is "Stay Young".  The track, adorned by horns, is light and surprisingly dance-able.

The band get dark on "White".  The track has the brooding quality of The National to it.  6-minute songs don't usually appeal to me, but "Down Down the Deep River" builds masterfully into a compelling rush.

Despite the presence of a few particularly catchy tracks, Okkervil River records tend to be fluffed up by songs that are of a fairly generic indie pop/rock nature.  This time around "Black Nemo", "On a Balcony", and "Where the Spirit Left Us" count among those.

No one will ever be offended by an Okkervil River record, but you probably won't be inspired either.  If you feel compelled to get one of their albums, The Silver Gymnasium will do as well as any.

Okkervil River plays The Phoenix in Toronto on September 28th.

Best tracks: "Stay Young", "Down Down Deep River"

Track listing for The Silver Gymnasium:
  • It Was My Season
  • On a Balcony
  • Down Down the Deep River
  • Pink-Slips
  • Lido Pier Suicide Car
  • Where the Spirit Left Us
  • White
  • Stay Young
  • Walking Without Franky
  • All the Time Every Day
  • Black Nemo

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