Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - Texas - Full Moon 248 - 11/14/16

Okkervil River
ATO Records

Okkervil River is out with a new album, apparently also their last - according to the opener "Okkervil River R.I.P.". Away has received a lot of great reviews, with quite a new sound compared to the more classical albums like The Stage Names and The Stand Ins. The use of orchestral instruments like winds, strings and even brass horns puts a distinctive signature on the album; which is about an hour long, even with only nine tunes - most of them some sort of ballads, with a quiet atmosphere strongly underlined by frontman and vocalist Will Sheff's soar, almost complaining voice, sometimes reminding of fellow colleagues like Mark Kozelek or even Justin Vernon, a.k.a. Bon Iver.

Despite all recommendations and good reviews, the direction which Okkervil River chooses this time is unfortunately quite the opposite of the one that made me start listening to them. Apart from a couple of more up-tempo songs like Industry, in addition to the already mentioned opener, which is full of both nerve, passion and contains a beautiful melody, I soon lose interest in all of these slow, repetitive and far too long ballads. Actually, it reminds me of a text I once had on a Wedding Present T-shirt: 'All The Songs Sound The Same'. But where it (I guess) was meant as a compliment for The Weddoes, its meaning is to be understood literally in this case. Sorry, Mr Sheff.

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You may also want to check out our Okkervil River articles/reviews: Mermaid EP, The Silver Gymnasium, The Stage Names.

© 2016 Luna Kafé