Monday, August 06, 2007

Okkervil River's The Stage Names

The Stage Names seemed as sure a Best New Music thing as any album coming out this year. After a generally perceived slight of Okkervil River's pseudo classic Black Sheep Boy a couple of years back and a steadily increasing presence amongst the indie intelligentsia it seemed unlikely that the new album would get anything but it's due.

I've had the album sitting on my iPod unattended for weeks. This is surprising to me as I very early on championed it's predecessor and lamented several missed opportunities to see this band since it's release. After reading the Pitchfork review I decided it was time I gave this sure to be super album a listen. The sad truth is I feel like the Best New Music inclusion feels more like a play for retroactive retribution than a genuine endorsement of this (fine but not spectacular) album.

I can't imagine a true accolade of Black Sheep Boy feeling totally satisfied by this less tune full, seemingly less emotional turn from a band that before pulled out the big room energy and immediacy that this album is reported to improve on.

Don't think that I'm suggesting to skip this album hopefully subsequent albums will reveal a deeper subtext but don't expect an album that Pitchfork seems to think is .2 better than it's predecessor. It's not this album.

Album high light: The penultimate track on this album "John Allyn Smith Sails" is it's best displaying range and beautifully written lyrics, plus a killer(could've been terrible but isn't) Beach Boys reference.

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