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The Silver Gymnasium

Okkervil River Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 14.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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"The goal was to push my brain to places it didn't want to go. The idea was to not have any idea – to keep myself confused about what I was doing," frontman Will Sheff says about Okkervil River's newest album. "I produced it myself so that I could extend the songwriting process all the way through to the very last second of recording, so the songs would never ... Read more in Amazon's Okkervil River Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Nov 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ato Records
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,347 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. It Was My Season 4:260.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. On A Balcony 3:040.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Down Down The Deep River 6:320.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Pink-Slips 3:390.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Lido Pier Suicide Car 5:310.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Where The Spirit Left Us 3:470.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. White 3:060.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Stay Young 4:190.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Walking Without Frankie 5:000.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. All The Time Every Day 4:370.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Black Nemo 4:580.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Although he has long been known as a character-driven songwriter, Okkervill River's Will Sheff announced that this album is a work of autobiography. The Silver Gymnasium is set in a very specific time and place from Sheff's childhood - in 1986 in the small town of Meriden, NH, where Sheff's parents worked as teachers for a boarding school. Sheff conceived the album as a tribute to the spirit of pre-adolescence, meant to evoke the nostalgic feeling of "an action figure you found in the woods." Sheff wrote: "On our last record, 'I Am Very Far,' I was musically trying to both satisfy and to challenge myself; for 'The Silver Gymnasium,' I wanted to write a record that was very much about trying to reach out to other people and show them a good time. I'd always wanted to write a record that was more based in autobiography, that spoke about my memories of how I felt and how the world around me seemed at a specific moment in the past, and it felt like a good time to finally do it. I thought John Agnello would be the perfect choice as a producer, not only because I've enjoyed his more recent records with people like Kurt Vile and Dinosaur Jr. but also because John is a much more old-fashioned producer who was actually involved with a lot of the music I listened to growing up, everything from Cyndi Lauper to John Mellencamp to the Outfield's "Your Love." John even worked on 'Born in the U.S.A.' and was loitering around in the background during the making of Tom Petty's 'Damn the Torpedoes'; so he was actually present while they were making a lot of the music that inspired the kid version of me to want to be a musician and that inspired 'The Silver Gymnasium' in general. Our goal with 'The Silver Gymnasium' was to work quickly and decisively, to make a "band" record and not a fussy studio creation, and to make the most fun record we could possibly make."

Product Description

Okkervil River Silver Gymnasium The

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Okkervil River - A full workout 16 Sep 2013
Format:Audio CD
Should Okkervil River implode tomorrow in sudden break up or be abducted by aliens they will have left us with a one outright work of genius (2003's "Down the river of golden dreams") and a range of other albums which were often brilliant and never ordinary ("The Black Sheep" being the best example). At the core of the consistency displayed by this Austin band over seven albums has been the songs of Will Scheff who has the distinction of being both one of rock's best lyricists and tenors. With the able support of a fine set of musicians, Scheff uses this new album "The Silver Gymnasium" to develop a lyrical theme exploring his own past essentially detailing with the people and places he knew while growing up in Meriden, New Hampshire in the 1980s. It leads to an album which is undoubtedly the least experimental of the bands work thus far. Musical and lyrical complexity has been part of this bands charm but this new album is probably the most accessible they have recorded since 2007s "The Stage Names". The good news is that it is genuinely solid and often beautiful album happily enchanted by the presence of Shearwater's unmistakable Jonathan Meiburg lending his backing vocals to five songs.

The source material provides Scheff with a strong conceptual hook to hang this album upon. Songs like the opening jaunty piano ballad "It was my season" have a singalong quality to them and a hint of Robert Smith. But like all Okkervil River songs they are infused with emotion and a capacity for incorporating multiple musical influences into a five minute window. This is even more pronounced on the smart lyrical word play on one of the albums standout tracks the six minute plus "Down, down in the deep river".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and Accomplished Album 8 Dec 2013
By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I got this the day it came out but have waited til now to write a review as I wasn't sure about it at first and that is often a very good thing. As this is one of those albums that is a real grower, until one day all the pieces fall into place and you spend the next fortnight finding as much time as possible to listen to it.

This is Will Sheff making a return to his youth back in the 1980's in hometown Meriden, NH. These are songs about growing up and a small world with the promise of so much more, best friends forever and summers remembered with rose tinted glasses. Jonathan Meiburg (Sheerwater) makes a much welcomed contribution with banjo, harmony and vocals and we have a harpsichord played by the uber talented Justin Sherburn. But the real talent is as always Will Sheff and his soaring vocals and imagery of lyrics that are closer to poetry than a `pop tune'.

There are so many stand out tracks here `Lido Pier Suicide Car' is excellent and check out the versions on YouTube. `Stay Young' is an homage to the music of the eighties complete with fuzzy synth and if you try dancing to it, it only works if you do it eighties stylie, so large shoulder pads and rubbish bouffant may actually help. `Down the deep river' is almost anthemic, especially in length but it could go on all day as far as I am concerned, mind you then it would probably be `prog rock'.

The opening number `It was my season' is one of those that yearns for the golden days and all that was promised and is just brilliant. There are so many instruments on this album and it all works including trumpet, lap steel and harmonica. The only track that seems out of place is `Walking without Frankie' which is a bit slow and brooding and brings the pace down a tad.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 4 Dec 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A great new album from this under rated band, one of my 2014 favourite albums, I absolutely love it - enjoy
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best album since Black Sheep Boy. 14 Nov 2013
By Chris P
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
While this is still basically a "concept" album, in it's loosest form, it also works very well as a non-concept...if that doesn't sound ridiculous.
There are some really great songs on this album - favs: Down Down The Deep River and Stay Young.

As others have said, it does sound quite 80s...but it is the good 80s!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not their best - at least not at the moment 27 Sep 2013
Format:Audio CD
Finding it difficult to really love this latest offering from OR. Nothing really stands out for me. At the moment I have no real inclination to play it over and over. It is obviously excellent lyrically and musically proficient as with everything put out by Will Sheff and it pains me to say it does nothing special for me as he is passionate about everything he produces. There is no real oomph to this and although the songs are well structured and the idea behind the album is admirable the overall feel is of a smooth, melodic yet undemanding effort. I'm sure there will be plenty who will disagree and this may well gain the band many new admirers which would be well deserved and overdue. In comparison to Down the river of broken dreams, Black sheep boy, The stage names and the Stand ins which are my favourite albums this is a pale shadow. I also found their last album I am very far to be a bit of a backward step although there were a couple of tracks which stood out.
However bands change and cannot produce the same stuff over and over again. I am ever hopeful that this new album eventually hits the spot. Still looking forward to seeing them live later on this year but do wonder with this new material whether they will hit the heights attained previously.
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