5 April 2013

5th April - Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy

Artist – Album: Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy
Released:  5th March 2005
Sounds Like: sufficiently contemporary to win you over, sufficiently unknown to make you feel cool
Now, don’t be too disappointed with me, but not everything I write here is completely my own original thought. Sometimes (oooh sometimes) I remember what I’d read in some other magazine or online website and regurgitate as best as I can their snappy sentiment. Some of my jokes have been lifted from critically acclaimed but criminally underwatched American comedies (*cough* 30 Rock, *cough* Arrested Development). And, you’ve probably noticed, but Wikipedia has got me up to speed with things once in a while... I only mention this now because I’m just going to quote word for word a review from Allmusic right now (how lazy am I?):

“...Fourth full-length, Black Sheep Boy, titled after the lovely song penned by Tim Hardin with which the band opens the record. However, their take on the song feels a bit rushed and uneventful, which knocks the tender breath from the lyrics and presents a clumsy start. Opening the record this way is the singular yet major complaint of the album, ironically pushing "Black Sheep Boy," the intended centerpiece, to the outskirts of the album's overall feel.
Ok, so those might not be my words, but they do a damn fine job of covering my feelings on this record – the opening song and title track is something of a disappointment, but really that’s about the only criticism that can fairly be levelled at the album. The second track 'For Real' is a fantastically epic nugget of mid-noughties indie rock, zig-zagging between hushed vocals and crunching visceral guitars. When it's really got pumping, you envisage Will Sheff, red-faced and vein's bulging, as he strains to wring every last drop of emotion from the barked lyrics. 'Black' is soundtracked by a lighter, almost pop backing, disguising the literate but dark love song within. 'Get Big' is a lovely folk duet with Amy Annelle.

The album continues along these indie folk rock lines throughout and it stands as one of the better albums in this vein to have been released in the last decade or so. I may not have been the first person to have thought as much, but that doesn't make it any less true.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.       <!--[endif]-->Black Sheep Boy – 1:18
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.       <!--[endif]-->For Real – 4:42
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.       <!--[endif]-->In a Radio Song – 5:39
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4.       <!--[endif]-->Black – 4:39
<!--[if !supportLists]-->5.       <!--[endif]-->Get Big – 3:55
<!--[if !supportLists]-->6.       <!--[endif]-->A King and a Queen – 3:22
<!--[if !supportLists]-->7.       <!--[endif]-->A Stone – 5:23
<!--[if !supportLists]-->8.       <!--[endif]-->The Latest Toughs – 3:11
<!--[if !supportLists]-->9.       <!--[endif]-->Song of Our So-Called Friend – 3:23
<!--[if !supportLists]-->10.   <!--[endif]-->So Come Back, I Am Waiting – 8:03
<!--[if !supportLists]-->11.   <!--[endif]-->A Glow – 3:43

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