Okkervil River The Stand Ins

Okkervil River The Stand Ins
Will Sheff, the main man behind Okkervil River, knows how to write a grower of a song. It took many listens and emotions to fully grasp the shambolic brilliance of his previous albums, Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names, but, alas, I don’t get that feeling with this effort. Sure, "Blue Tulip” has those quasi-literary Sheff lyrics echoing over reverb-laden guitar and crashing cymbals, and "Calling and Not Calling My Ex” has an infectious country stomp, but all the goodness of this album is quite apparent on the surface. Granted, this album is an extension of The Stage Names — put the covers one on top of another to see the full picture — but does that give it license to sound so similar? The spark that ignites into a greater fire after a bunch of listens seems to just smoulder here. If you’re new to Okkervil River, this will work its magic on you, and I’m sure you’ll go explore their earlier stuff, but as a continuation of Sheff’s evolution, this album stands quite still. (Jagjaguwar)