Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

September 10, 2008

“”There’s this idea of living in a world of pop culture history, high art history and low art history, full of images that are extremely common and meaningful to people but are essentially empty and disembodied. I wanted the record to exist in a universe of reference of signals, signs and bullshit.” – Will Sheff

Taken together with last August’s The Stage Names, to which their new release The Stand Ins is meant as a sequel, Okkervil River has made one of the very best rock records of this young century. This set of eleven songs was recorded at the same time as The Stage Names and originally conceived as part of a double album. Instead, the band chose to split the album into two releases, and The Stand Ins represents the concluding half. It nevertheless could stand on its own, and contains material as literate, insightful and emotionally searing as its predecessor. It has an epic sweep to it, but also succeeds in its more quiet, intimate moments as well. Is it as good as The Stage Names? Not quite, but that won’t keep it off numerous “Best of 2008” lists come the end of the year. This is rock elevated and pushed into the realm of high art, miraculously without a smidgen of pretension. Plus you can still sing and dance to it. What more could you want? Standout cuts: “Lost Coastlines,” “Singer Songwriter,” “Blue Tulip” and “On Tour With Zykos.”



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