Black Sheep Boy is Okkervil River's most ambitious and cinematic record to date, a love story and adult fable carved in lacerating rock and roll, desolate late-night country weepers, and a few shining moments of sheer, shameless pop. Along the way, the compositions of Will Sheff evoke the mature songcraft of Leonard Cohen's New Skin for the Old Ceremony, the sophistication of Scott Walker's Scott 4, the shambling slow-motion bravado of Neil Young's On the Beach, and the raw nerves and trick effects of Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers.
The Appendix is not just a companion piece to Black Sheep Boy; it's also a condensed, alternate vision of that record's imagery and themes, with the ultimate intent to exhaust and destroy both. This ambitious mini-album rounds up and reworks the band's favorite unfinished songs (tracked for the full-length) and then punctuates and bookends them in brand-new compositions.
"Will Sheff, leader of the Austin indie-rock band Okkervil River, writes like a novelist. His songs are full of elegant phrases and unexpected images that tell - or don't quite tell - stories of characters trying to figure out if they need each other...The marvelous new Okkervil River album Black Sheep Boy should advance his cult further."
- Kelefa Sanneh, New York Times
From Black Sheep Boy (Definitive Edition) - Jagjaguwar
Okkervil River - "No Key, No Plan"
Okkervil River - "Black"