Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Okkervil River: The Stand Ins

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the forthcoming Okkervil River album isn't that great. You should certainly give it some attention if you like/love/obsess over Okkervil, but the simple truth is that The Stand Ins is just not on par with previous efforts like the outstanding Stage Names and Black Sheep Boy. And when you have a habit of releasing stellar albums, expectations for each successive offering are going to be high.

When you consider the album's pedigree, the somewhat lackluster outcome is understandable. Stand Ins features 11 songs that were constructed during the recording of Stage Names, but were eventually placed on the shelf for a future release. The band had so many songs in consideration that they briefly threw around the idea of putting out a double record, but instead decided to fit a group of songs together and turn that into a Stage Names sequel. And sequels have been known to fall short of their predecessor.

Still, there are some worthwhile moments on Stand Ins, especially if you are a lyrics fiend. The album starts off strong with the track "Lost Coastlines", where Will Sheff and recently departed Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater share a duet on the joys and hardships of trying to keep the band together. The group also delivers a sample of the beautiful complexity that proliferated Stage Names with the closing "Bruce Wayne Cambell Interviewed On the Roof of The Chelsea Hotel, 1979," even if they made the mistake of asking Panic at the Disco how long a song title should be.
The Stand Ins will be available on September 9 via Jagjaguwar, and if you pre-order between now and the release date you'll get Stage Names and Stand Ins posters along with your order. You can see Okkervil at the tour dates listed below, stops in Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, and Vienna have just been announced.
Okkervil River on Tour:
  • 09/12/08 Lawrence, KS - The Bottleneck
  • 09/13/08 Omaha, NE - Slowdown
  • 09/14/08 Madison, WI - Barrymore Theater
  • 09/15/08 Fargo, ND - Aquarium
  • 09/17/08 Seattle, WA - The Showbox
  • 09/18/08 Vancouver, BC - Richards on Richards
  • 09/19/08 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
  • 09/20/08 Eugene, OR - McDonald Theater
  • 09/21/08 San Francisco, CA - Treasure Island Music Festival
  • 09/23/08 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
  • 09/24/08 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
  • 09/25/08 Tempe, AZ - The Clubhouse
  • 09/26/08 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
  • 09/28/08 Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
  • more


Anonymous said...

I actually LOVE this album and think it's just as good as the others. it did take me a few listens however but now I can't get the songs out of my head!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, i have to agree with the other anonymous. I think this one is way better than the stages names actually, but i never did learn to love that record. But im really psyched about this one.