Okkervil River has deservingly built up a great and loyal following. They’ve done this with singer/cornerstone of the band Will Sheff leading the way exposing his heart and soul in his writing. The casual observer might think Sheff and company don’t take many chances veering from the norm but this album definitely has a little different feel.
The first song “Famous Tracheotomies” pulls no punches in subject matter, it is about exactly that. It is a typically weird and uncomfortable Okkervil song with no chorus or hook but still manages to be entrancing. As far as the sound of the album that lead song doesn’t show the cards that “In The Rainbow Rain” is actually holding. The rest of the album touches on what is hinted at on the album art colors, an 80s sound. You’ll hear keyboards, synthesizers and horns throughout with production to match. It gives the whole album a cloud of untimeliness that is likely very intentional. It can be distracting, almost like extra tinsel when it isn’t needed. Songs like “Love Somebody” and “Pull Up The Ribbon” are upbeat and overcome this handicap. This is especially true on the wonderful swaying tune “Don’t Move Back To LA.” That song shows how great of songwriter Sheff really is.
The album is a little different than recent efforts by the band and the dated sound and production can be distracting but it is still difficult to hide good songs and there are a few really good songs here worth checking out.
Key Tracks: “Famous Tracheotomies” “Don’t Move Back To LA” “Love Somebody”