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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£14.13+ £1.26 shipping

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on 16 January 2016
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on 16 October 2008
I got this after hearing The Stage names which i fell in love with instantly.

I could tell it was going to be a darker affair from the artwork and what i had read on amazon.

Well it has some amazing high points but also a lot of songs that dont really do anything (well they dont for me at least)

I love the fact that their albums are so different - each with different themes and stories. This album has enough good songs to make it a worthwhile purchase.

'For Real' is wonderully edgy song based on perception of what is reality and how to test it. Its soft loud dynamics make it engaging and appealing.

'Black' possibly their best song - is an unavoidably catchy tune - but coupled with an awful tale of a friend of the singer who has been raped by a close relative. The song is so powerful is makes you tingle - especially when Will Sheff sings
"and if i could rip his throat - spill his blood between my jaws"
"and erase his name for good - dont you know that i would - dont you know that i wouldn't pause"

other worthwhile songs are "the latest toughs" again using that soft loud dynamic with false Falsetto vocals adding to the eeerie nature of the song and also the softer sombre "Stone".

This is still a fantastic album by an amazingly talented band - but by The Stage names high standards it comes in second to it in my opinion.

However - it has songs on it that need to be heard but a number of dull slow songs stop it from being an album you can listen to without skipping tracks.

On the plus side the imagaery, concept and artwork of the whole package is wonderfull - the booklet pictures match the nature of the music perfectly....!!
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on 1 June 2005
I was not a huge fan of Okkervil River before this album. I'd heard 'Down The River Of Golden Dreams' and thought that, whilst Will Sheff wrote outstanding lyrics and the band played musically excellent compositions, the songs were a little too drawn out and lacked any real focus.
This all changed with 'Black Sheep Boy'.
From the instant Will Sheff's vocals speak over a lightly strummed guitar in a highly wonderful version of Tim Hardin's 'Black Sheep Boy' and then the feedback begins 'For Real', I was hooked. OR's penchant for dynamics in sound is highlighted in a number of songs like 'For Real', where Sheff alternates between crooning and shouting his lyrics over distorted guitars and thundering drumming.
However OR don't just rely on dynamics in volume, they alter styles as well. 'Black' is as close to a pop song as they've ever gotten with its bouncy keyboards and post-punk drumming married with distressing lyrics about child kidnapping, whilst 'Get Big' and 'Like A Stone' show an altogether more stripped down sound more in tune with folk.
The album's nadir, however, is the penultimate track 'So Come Back I Am Waiting'. What begins as a sad song builds to an explosive chorus and ends with one of the most heartwrenching outros I've ever heard. When Sheff sings "I'm waiting to make you my lamb" in an almost whisper, I can't help but want to be that lamb.
And this is where the album excels. Every aspect of OR has been raised on this album. The emotional power of the lyrics, the catchy hooks in the music and, overall, the feeling of immesne pleasure you can derive from this album are all combined into making this a cult gem of an album.
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on 25 July 2005
This is simply a gorgeous album... I was recommended it over the Internet by the hype of jonnys_guitar (above) and from a few other sources, and it hasn't disappointed at all. Moody folk with the occasional and orchestral leaps of horns, strings and piano for colour lead to a gorgeous album worthy of any better known band. If you want an album to get you into Okkervil River (and you will not be disappointed) then this is the one.
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on 10 May 2005
Okkervil River's fourth LP sees the band seemingly exploring a much broader selection of influences and in many ways moving in a different more commercially viable direction. Always being something of a cult and rather geeky artist, on this record we see less of the often bizarre alternative-folk arrangements that defined their earlier work. Happily this shift in style has not had any great impact on Will Seff's lyrics or vocal style. Seff's obscure singing style and gut wrenchingly sad lyrics remain central to the bands sound, which will no doubt please fans immensely. Despite this, it is impossible for fans not to be slightly disappointed by this release, which by all accounts sounds more like the work of some other band lacking, as it does, any the unique weirdness of their early work. Despite this the album still displays the basic the song writing talent that gathered the band their cult following in first place, and is a worthy addition to the bands growing catalogue.
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on 10 November 2006
Hang on a minute. Is everybody reading from the same page here or what?

I bought this on the premise that this was Folk-rock based.Well, to me it sounds nothing more than late 70s New/No Wave/Jonathan Richman meets The Waterboys.

I have listened to this three times in a row now, and I feel that I may be ,hopefully, missing something. I really hope that this album grows on me otherwise it's going straight in my 'to be sold' pile.
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