Experimental Music Love

October 3, 2008

Okkervil River – The Stand-Ins

Filed under: Album Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 2:15 am
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Okkervil River – The Stand-ins

How do you follow an album as grand and inspiring as The Stage Names? Well, quite easily it would turn out for Okkervil River, with The Stand-Ins always a part of the great Stage Name plan, exploring that mirror between life and art, and all the ugly celebrity and brutal realities it uncovers.

Rather than stand side-by-side though, these two albums offer the highs and lows of showmanship. A stark clue for the albums tone is revealed is when its skeletal cover is placed beneath that fist punching its way through the ground that represents The Stage Names. With the picture complete, The Stand-Ins lies underground with its message in a bottle looking for a way out, whereas The Stage Names defies all that stands in its way to rise triumphantly.

This is a behind-the-scenes, below the trapdoor album that shuns the bright lights and box office, unlike its brother, which did all it could to be heard. It’s no Phantom though, with the over-riding feeling throughout more melancholy than something sinister. Calling And Not Calling My Ex certainly yearns for a better life, in its tale of an ex-girlfriend who’s found fame and fortune.

A bitterness is shown too when Will Sheff deconstructs the myth of the musician on both Singer Songwriter and Pop Lie. The former lambastes a futile existence, whereas the latter throws angry accusations at the pop star fabricating a song without meaning for the sake of a sing-along.

It stays reserved throughout though, and the music never triumphs in such a way as Unless it Kicks on it’s predecessor. But to complete the picture (both literal and conceptual), it’s essential. The stage that is the world is only half-explored, and here’s where you can see what goes on behind the curtain.

7.7/10

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1 Comment »

  1. […] River are brilliant.  And so is their new album, The Stand-Ins (though it’s not as good as The Stage Names).  I can only imagine their upcoming gig in […]

    Pingback by Pop Lies? - An Interview With Okkervil River « Experimental Music Love — November 8, 2008 @ 12:54 am |Reply


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