Friday, September 26, 2008

Under Examination: Okkervil River

I've heard some amazing songs in 2008; I plan on compiling my top 50 tracks of the year (a list that may prove difficult to whittle down) as the year wanes. But for now, I feel the need to declare my love for this song.

Okkervil River's latest album, The Stand Ins, is disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I think it's very good in its own right, but following the stellar The Stage Names with anything short of perfection is bound to pale in comparison. I highly recommend All of their albums (particularly from Black Sheep Boy onward).

"Lost Coastlines" is a very bittersweet affair, with lyrics addressing moving on, specifically in response to backing singer/guitarist Jonathan Meiburg's departure from the group (he now focuses his energies solely on his excellent Shearwater project). Will Sheff and Meiburg trade off lead vocal duties throughout, and their interplay is some of the finest they've ever performed. Meiburg's baritone croon is supplanted by Sheff's more immediate, urgent tenor, and vice versa for the song's duration. In the end, we're left with a note of optimism, as the band joins together to shout a refrain of "la la! la la la la...." 
Just listen to it.

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