michael gallucci

ALBUM REVIEW — OKKERVIL RIVER

In album review on 04/25/2011 at 12:15 pm

Okkervil River

I Am Very Far

(Jagjaguwar)

Okkervil River’s Will Sheff has a reputation for doing things big. His songs often sound like grand theatrical productions staged by Brian Wilson … if Brian Wilson were a hyper-literate indie rocker with a slight Dylan complex. For parts of the Austin band’s sixth album, Sheff rounded up more than a dozen musicians, put them all in a room, and hit the “record” button. The result is Okkervil River’s loudest, most far-reaching album, a 50-minute song cycle that begins with a cut called “The Valley” and ends with the equally momentous-sounding “The Rise.” I Am Very Far is still rooted in the band’s carnival-colored Americana, but the tons of instruments ringing through “Rider” and “We Need a Myth” (actually, almost every song here) end up steering the album away from that confining label. “What I want the most is to prove that I’m not like them,” Sheff sings in “The Piratess.” Mission accomplished.

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