Saturday, September 06, 2008

Okkervil River - Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See

Okkervil River - Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See

Okkervil River, "Red" (YSI link)

Okkervil River, "Westfall" (YSI link)

Okay, I lied. I don't only want to hear songs about love, I got caught up in the moment and exaggerated. In fact, I'm kinda bummed right now, as technology has failed me big time. First, my phone broke again over the weekend, then I learned that my HD is broken and I lost a huge chunk of my music. Ugh. Viva la Luddites! Add in the fact that my Ark isn't quite done yet for the coming rains and I'm not in the best of spirits.

Whenever I feel sad, I like to turn to that select group of troubadours who sing with melancholy and anger, brokenhearted yet passionate. It is a small but quality list, and Okkervil River holds a special place on it. Will Sheff and his band have put out two of my all-time favorites, Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names, perfect rock albums that make me think of lost love, heartbreak, love found, etcetera, etcetera, which is pretty much all I want from that music.

For some reason, I never really gave much of a listen to their earliest albums on Jagjaguwar. For any even less discernible reason, I returned to them in the past weeks and realized that they are quite good n their own right. Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See isn't just an awesomely named album, it all contains some of my favorite songs by the band - "Red", "Kansas City", "Lady Liberty" and "Westfall". They are all perfect examples of that type of music that Okkervil excels at, rock music that seems comfortable pressing up against folk. He is the master of giving the music a silence that; check out "Westfall" for a great example of pacing, as things start with Sheff's gentle vocals, some guitar and banjo strumming and basic drums and slowly pick up intensity over the next 6 minutes. Awesome.

This is the first LP the band released, back in 2002, and it shows that they came out nicely formed, as the formula for their later works is there. There are a few false steps, like the too-slow bluesy number "My Bad Days" and the distorted vocals of "Dead Dog Song," but all in all, it's a solid record, recommended for fans and those looking for something new. For the record, this post isn't out of the blue; it's a chance to remind everyone that the new Okkervil River LP, comes out this Tuesday, September 9th. I'm sure that I'll pick up a copy next week, hope that you will too. In the meantime, grab a copy Don't Fall In Love... and see where it all began.

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