Okkervil River Sleep and Wake-Up Songs

Okkervil River Sleep and Wake-Up Songs
For all the artistic freedom that being a singer-songwriter gives you, there’s also one problem: you’re it. If there are any problems with the song, voice, etc, there’s only really one person to blame as you’re there, front and centre. This is indeed the case with Will Sheff, he being the titular Okkervil River, as his voice is seemingly crystal clear on every song, deciding not to hide it behind mumbling or lo-fi recording techniques and therefore not masking whatever mistakes, and there are a few, he makes. As a result, this in-between EP sometimes sounds like he recorded it all in one sitting, as opener “A Favor” abounds with energy and wonderfully chaotic instrumentation. “You’re Untied Again” is the low point, as more than a couple of off-key notes are very noticeable and his voice sometimes borders on a warble. Fortunately, things pick up considerably and Sheff’s voice is in perfect form on the sublime “Just Give Me Time,” with its simple guitar and plaintive style. In light of the emotion of the track, it’s almost as if a mighty angst-filled weight was lifted off his shoulders and allowing him to betray his experiment in greater instrumentation and indulge in his naughty old ways of him and guitar. Sure, it may not be very indie, but damn, it sure sounds good. (Jagjaguwar)