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LAist CD Review: Okkervil River

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Artist: Okkervil River
CD: The Stand Ins
Release Date: Sept. 9
Label: Jagjaguwar

I was late to the Okkervil River party, having ignored the initial hype that accompanied the release of the band's 2007 breakout album, The Stage Names. Pitchfork's glowing review made me recoil in the face of money spent on albums from overhyped bands that so obviously do not deserve exalted praise. (Danielson? Really!?).

But, I eventually did come around to lead singer Will Sheff and his not so merry band of musically talented bandits. I devoured Stage Names, tasted the three previous albums with delicious ferocity and eventually found myself on the front rail for their tremendous Lollapalooza performance this year.

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The same sense of brooding and self doubt present on Stage Names is here on Stand Ins with a pinch of growth without betraying their lyrically-based grasp of life's idiosyncratic bullshit.

Take Sheff on Stand Ins anchor, "Blue Tulip:" "I've got my ear against the screen, I feel your feelings cracking me" as drums crash in on a bass line that reminds us that, yes, things may suck but, shit, at least you have your friends. The song ends with a 65-second musical ensemble that might be the elevator music to indie rock heaven and could easily have ended the album.