OKKERVIL RIVER > The Stand-Ins

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The ambitious The Stand-Ins picks up right where last year’s masterpiece The Stage Names left off and further cements lead singer and songwriter Will Sheff’s reputation for being able to bring the characters in his songs to life without the benefit of his beloved silver screen.

Label: JAGJAGUWAR 
[Rating: 4]

The ambitious The Stand-Ins picks up right where last year’s masterpiece The Stage Names left off and further cements lead singer and songwriter Will Sheff’s reputation for being able to bring the characters in his songs to life without the benefit of his beloved silver screen. Clocking in right around 40 minutes, The Stand-Ins feels like a tight pop record that revisits some of the same conflicted characters as The Stage Names, but also a pop record that eschews big, catchy choruses and short, concise songs for long, carefully crated, literate tales showcasing Sheff’s signature wordplay and smooth croon. The Stand-Ins begins with the rollicking acoustic sing a long “Lost Coastlines” before being taken over by the horn heavy, mid-tempo, groove and soul of “Starry Stairs.” There are no weak tracks here, from the country rocker “Singer Songwriter” to the raucous power pop of “Pop Life,” Sheff’s emotional delivery never tires. The album’s lyrically bleak songs are offset by their upbeat instrumentation and just like The Stage Names before it, showcases Will Sheff and Co in fine form.



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