Okkervil River walk a postmodern tightrope of ironic, yet sincere, folk music. They've been called alt-country (and half a dozen other silly subgenres, like avant-folk), and that's as good a name as any other, but doesn't really do them justice. Despite the sense of a slightly knowing smirk behind some of the tried-and-tested themes of the album (the general subject matter is heartbreak and abandonment), it's impossible not to be drawn in by Will Robinson Sheff's heartfelt singing. The music is largely flawless, and skips nicely between the livelier songs and the more melancholic ones. Though there is the odd moment where a track can drag a little, such as Bad Days, any problems are redeemed by the wonderful poetry of the lyrics. So, in short, this album is not anything particularly new. However it is done in a new and deeply intelligent manner. Plus there's a duet with Daniel Johnston, what more could you want?
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