Okkervil River

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Okkervil River

Don't Fall in Love With Everyone You See

(Jagjaguwar) Like Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Okkervil River's sophomore LP launches immediately into a coming-of-age story, balancing poetic lines with an undeniable emotional investment that sustains itself over the course of the entire album. Okkervil River and frontman Will Sheff are inspired, as is NHM's Jeff Magnum, by the folk tradition of telling a story by song. Don't Fall in Love With Everyone You See, the Austin fourpiece's first effort for Bloomington, Ind., indie Jagjaguwar, represents a quantum leap forward. Opener "Red" is a strummed tale of emotional ruin and a mother's pain. The pedal steel and harmonica of "Kansas City" form the sad, twangy shuffle that have won the band comparisons to Will Oldham's Palace. Like his fellow Will, Sheff goes full-tilt at all times, infusing each word, each phrase with a splash from the cauldron of passion lurking beneath. At key moments, that passion bubbles over and Okkervil River hits full stride. "Westfall" is a tale of high school murder, beautifully spiked by Zach Thomas' mandolin, and is also the band's biggest-sounding song thanks in part to the veteran production of Brian Beattie (ex-Glass Eye). Beattie brings in old pal Daniel Johnston for a memorable duet on "Happy Hearts," like the rest of the album equally giving of trust and sincerity and suspicious of its reciprocation. As fine as it opens, Don't Fall in Love finishes up even stronger, with "Okkervil River Song," an accordion-fed instant classic about the Northeastern countryside that lingers in the air long after the last of the recorded bird chirps that cap this fine collection.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Hi, Gene!
In the Valley (Record Review)

Libby Webster, March 22, 2019

Texas Platters
Taft
Goodnight, Plum (Record Review)

Elise Barbin, March 22, 2019

More by Michael Chamy
Texas Platters
Palaxy Tracks
Twelve Rooms (Record Review)

Sept. 16, 2005

Texas Platters
Comet
Feathers From the Wing EP (Record Review)

Aug. 12, 2005

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Don't Fall in Love With Everyone You See, Okkervil River

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle