Okkervil River

In the Rainbow Rain

ATO

Apr 26, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Okkervil River vocalist Will Sheffmuch like The National's Matt Berningerhas the kind of voice that, regardless of lyrics, conveys an inherent and infinite melancholy. That's something that's pervaded his entire body of work, whether in the forlorn and simple majesty of early Shearwaterthe band he co-founded soon after Okkervil River and then left a few years lateror within the increasingly complex and ambitious compositions of Okkervil River.

That's perhaps not better embodied than by the opening track on this ninth studio record, "Famous Tracheotomies," in which Sheff relates his own experience of that surgery as a child to those of famous people throughout the ages. What, on paper, could come across as an irreverent list of Hollywood Reporter-style tabloid news flashes, becomes a touching tribute.

There's direct emotion here, toonamely on the spectral slow-motion soundscapes of "Shelter Song," the dazzling, quasi-tropical grooves of "Family Song," and the earnest lilt of "Don't Move Back to LA," a smooth-pop plea to friends of Sheff's who have left him in Brooklyn and headed to the West Coast city. Yet while the sentiment is sincere in all of those songs, there's also an element of whimsy in them tooperhaps because of the glossy '70s studio rock sheen that underpins them, and the other tracks, on this record.

The result is an album that's deeply affecting, but whicheven if it isdoesn't feel quite as personal or authentic as much of the band's previous output. It's also their most anachronistic record to date. Neither of those things are inherently bad, butdespite the fact that the forlorn splendor of Sheff's voice is on full display on "External Actor" and "Human Being Song," the closing tracks of In the Rainbow Rainit does mean this album takes more time than usual to burrow into your heart. (www.okkervilriver.com)  

Author rating: 7.5/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.