Hats off to my distant hope
A little lie, a puff of smoke...
The Stand Ins, Okkervil River's follow-up to their critically rejoiced The Stage Names, is out today. The words are signature Will Sheff; he lives in the songs, and the songs exhale his tragic spirit. This one begins with his voice comfortably accompanied with piano and acoustic guitar, probably his tour favorite Martin D15. But if you started the song at five minutes rather than at the beginning, at this song's soaring height, you'd be surprised if someone claimed this were from the new Okkervil River, with that searing guitar shredding and distorting the upper register. Will Sheff can make a song soar on his own, but the addition of Wrens' guitarist Charles Bissel takes some of the songs on The Stand-Ins to a whole new level. The band follows Blue Tulip with a sardonic upper/downer, a tough, devastating guitar/synth pop song about the artificiality of pop songs and/or pop stars. The Stage Names was my top album of 2007, and The Stand-Ins will occupy a position at the top of my 2008 list.
Okkervil River - Blue Tulip (mp3)