Saturday, May 14, 2011

Available Now: Okkervil River - I Am Very Far

Let me start off by saying that the only Okkervil River albums I've listened to are The Stage Names and The Stand Ins (started listening to Black Sheep Boy the other day on Grooveshark), but I'm really using those previous two albums from the band to compare to their newest one, I Am Very Far. It's quite the departure from the previous two. Honestly, after listening to it the first time, I was unimpressed. I feel that Okkervil River works best as a rockin' jam band (think "Unless It's Kicks" or "Lost Coastlines"). But that isn't to say that I don't like the slower songs - I love "Plus Ones" and "On Tour with Zykos." I guess I don't exactly know what I want from them in terms of sound, but I was disappointed in this album.

"The goal was to push my brain to places it didn't want to go. The idea was to not have any idea - to keep myself confused about what I was doing," - Will Sheff. I pulled this quote off and it obviously addresses the difference in sound on I Am Very Far. I commend him for doing as much, and it would have sucked had he just recycled material from The Stand Ins. I'm glad he took his songwriting ability to a new place. But often you have to tread lightly with fans. Too much of a shift can be a bad thing. I don't feel this is a big shift, though. I do enjoy this album. "Rider" and "Wake and Be Fine" offer a sound that's most similar to some of their previous work. I feel that the album really picks up steam with "We Need a Myth" and my favorite tracks would have to be "Hanging From a Hit" and "Your Past Life as a Blast." The former is beautifully written (love the piano) while the latter is catchy and a lot of fun to listen to.

I wouldn't say that this album is a great showcase of Will Sheff's songwriting ability and voice, though again, the tracks I listed above are good examples of it. But the past two albums feature better lyrics and melodies, and they compliment his singing in a better fashion.

And so, in summation, there are definitely some great tracks on this record and I do feel it's worth listening to. But I'm slightly disappointed, too, because I did expect more. Anyways, check it out for yourself because it's available now. Below is the track listing.

1. The Valley
2. Piratess
3. Rider
4. Lay of the Last Survivor
5. White Shadow Waltz
6. We Need a Myth
7. Hanging From a Hit
8. Show Yourself
9. Your Past Life as a Blast
10. Wake and Be Fine
11. The Rise

No comments:

Post a Comment