Review : Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
EwThis Austin quintet follows 2007's The Stage Names with a second tour de force about the collateral damage of fame. Under the surface of The Stand Ins' lavish arrangements lurk harrowing portraits of such real-life casualties as the glam-rock singer Jobriath (''Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979'') and the porn-star suicide Savannah (''Starry Stairs''), plus the nameless, spurned lovers of those in the spotlight. We'd say Okkervil River should be famous — but on this evidence, maybe they're better off producing their classics from the sidelines....full text
AdequacyWith every ten bands that can’t seem to make quality music each and every time out, there is that one rare band that reminds you just how prevailing the power of music is. And when you’ve released terrific album after terrific album — like Okkervil River has — it serves as a special awakening into what music has to offer. After last year’s exceptional The Stage Names (which even in a very strong year was yours truly’s resounding top album), the Texas-based band is back with a fantastic counterpart and extension to that album’s various themes of humanity, life and death, compassion, heartbreak, loss, mortality, hope, misfortune, and faith....full text
BillboardA year after releasing one of '07's finest records, "The Stage Names," Will Sheff and band return with a fifth full-length that's a sequel, a soul mate or second half of its predecessor. "The Stand-Ins" feels looser and breathier than "Stage Names," from the boppy "You Can't Hurry Love" bassline on opener "Lost Coastlines" to the crackling "Singer Songwriters," which takes several well-directed swings at self-indulgent hipsters ("You've got outsider art by an artist who arguably kidnapped a kid on the wall," Sheff indicts). Fans will enjoy hearing the continued tales of characters like Savannah (on "Starry Stairs") and, one suspects, no small amount of Sheff himself....full text
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