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More By Okkervil River

Cover Art
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Okkervil River ( http://www.okkervilriver.com/ @okkervilriver )

The Stage Names
Jagjaguwar ( http://www.jagjaguwar.com/ @jagjaguwar )
The name Okkervil River has been known to a select few, but The Stage Names just might cause the river to rise.  Hell, even just the opening track has the power to do that.  "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" is instantly compelling, with urgent yet quiet guitar and a hushed vocal exploding forward with momentum, propelled by a great arrangement and the marginal freak-out of vocalist Will Sheff.  Though prior releases have been strong, The Stage Names finds Okkervil in full flourish.  As rootsy as alt.country but as anthemic as the Arcade Fire, The Stage Names alternately bounces and breathes, from upbeat ("A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene") to downbeat ("Savannah Smiles") and back again.  The closer, 'John Allyn Smith Sails,' is the apex of Sheff's intellectualism - the Beach Boys may have borrowed John Berryman's words for "Sloop John B," but it took Sheff to borrow both and create a new song of it all.  Sheff's frenzy borders on histrionic at times, but that will only bother people who like their indie vocalists extra-detached.  Decidedly worth your time.

By James Hayashi-Tennant
Sep 28, 2007

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