Okkervil River
The Stage Names
(Jagjaguwar)
Don’t you love a CD that grabs you from the first song? The Stage Names certainly has it from top to the bottom. Songwriter/vocalist Will Sheff likes to jam as many words as possible into each song (in the John K. Samson vein). He doesn’t try to write a song as much as try to tell a story. “Plus Ones” jams in references to songs by Nena, Paul Simon and REM. The mid-tempo “A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene” starts with a nice bass groove and the opening track “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe” is a firecracker that will start many of the band’s gigs. The surprising part is the CD contains nine songs and clocks in at 41 minutes. It sounds longer.
Aaron Hartling

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