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The Stage Names
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Rating
Album: The Stage Names
# Song Title   Time
1)    Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
2)    Unless It Kicks
3)    Hand to Take Hold of the Scene, A
4)    Savannah Smiles
5)    Plus Ones
6)    Girl in Port, A
7)    You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man
8)    Title Track
9)    John Allyn Smith Sails
 

Album: The Stage Names
# Song Title   Time
1)    Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
2)    Unless It Kicks
3)    Hand to Take Hold of the Scene, A
4)    Savannah Smiles
5)    Plus Ones
6)    Girl in Port, A
7)    You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man
8)    Title Track
9)    John Allyn Smith Sails
 
Product Description
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • What's gotten into Okkervil River? While the band has always been basically the vehicle for the songs and musings of frontman Will Sheff, their formless approach--somewhere between indie rock, emo, and roots music--has always tended to be a too-middling, too-pensive, and an altogether too-tasteful affair. STAGE NAMES changes everything. With the mixing help of Spoon drummer and Austin producer extraordinaire Jim Eno, the Austin quintet finally unleash their inner rock animals and deliver an unhinged rock-&-roll record replete with finger snaps, swaggering riffs, and Sheff's most direct and dynamic song cycle yet.
  • The lead-off, "Our Life Is Not A Movie and Maybe," injects a Belle and Sebastian-esque melodic theme with a sweeping rock energy that finally matches Sheff's penchant for dense, literate turns of phrase. "A Girl in Port" and "Plus Ones" masquerade first as old-style Okkervil River ballads before blossoming into wasted, midtempo country rock. "You Can't Take the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man" continues the touring life themes by riding a T. Rexish glam rock riff with lyrics of girls passed out in hotel chairs. Many times intense touring schedules can derail a band and certainly deplete the depth of new material. Okkervil River have turned this danger into an advantage by harnessing the newfound tightness of a road-tested band and finding new ways to play with the cliches. The resulting long player is a riveting, unique epic that mixes many known elements into something you've never heard before--particularly from Okkervil River.
Professional Reviews
Spin (p.136) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Sheff's restless longing sends him careening from orchestral textures on 'Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe' to the pumping Motown beat of 'A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene'..."

Entertainment Weekly (p.133) - "[T]he verses burst with writerly details. Yet thanks to the fuzzy folk-rock vibe, NAMES never feels like an undergrad lit class."

Uncut (p.121) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[With] guitar-driven noise cutting loose at weird tangents like Spoon or, at its inspired best, Bright Eyes."

Alternative Press (p.162) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "THE STAGE NAMES encompasses a wide range of moods and styles -- from alt-country-tinged boot-tappers to jangly indie-pop -- but nothing seems out of place or misdirected."

Alternative Press (p.128) - Included in Alternative Press's '10 Essential Albums Of 2007' -- "THE STAGE NAMES proves Sheff & Co. are poised to break out big time..."

Magnet (p.109) - "[T]he Okkervil River frontman has quietly carved out a musical legacy marked by a craft and complexity that's increasingly Wilson-esque."

No Depression (p.102) - "Okkervil River goes the orchestral route here, loading its organic-sounding songs with stardusted pedal steel, springtime-in-Paris horn flourishes, and warm washes of country-gold organ."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.108) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] stirring, soaring, big-screen affair....There's a lot of Ray Davies -- his pessimism, poignancy and depth -- in Will Sheff's urban story-songs."
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