First Listen: Okkervil River, ‘I Am Very Far’
The group’s latest is called I Am Very Far, and if that sounds a little remote, you don’t know the half of it. From the title to the Gothic cover art to the slithery organ and gunshot snare of “The Valley,” the album — out May 10 — warns listeners upfront that they’re stepping into dark, unfamiliar territory.
And yet it wouldn’t be an Okkervil River record if it didn’t reward repeat listens. Peer through the darkness and you’ll find bright spots galore: the attack-and-release rhythm of “Rider,” the watery piano textures of “The Rise” and the swirling orchestral swells of “We Need a Myth,” all of them just sitting there behind the menace, waiting to be found. Will Sheff has never had trouble cranking out great songs. What’s so engaging this time around is his willingness to take a beautiful thing and bury it.
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