Okkervil River, a longtime favourite round here, will be releasing their fourth full length album on Aug. 7th via Jagjaguwar (one of the most consistent labels around). The Stage Names trundles along the trail that the Texans started building on previous records.

The record contains a variety of melancholy folk and upbeat hand-clap-a-longs that leader & songwriter Will Sheff has been getting pretty darn good at. Album opener Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe builds up with Sheff’s voice and tick tick tick guitar and comes crashing in with awesome woo woos a couple of minutes in. Lengthy in title only You Can’t Hold The Hand of A Rock And Roll Man punches up the twang with the aforementioned hand claps.

This album contains no overall literary theme like Black Sheep Boy but it does seem to contain a little bit more sheen that we’ve seen from the boys. It was great how raw (sorry) previous work was. Shudders still arrive when listening to the line in For Real (from Black Sheep Boy) when you can actually hear Sheff spit the ‘F’ in the line ‘cause I like this way just fine.‘ Those little unpolished anomalies seem absent on Stage Names. However with lyrics like this from album highlight John Allyn Smith Sails Okkervil River are hardly aiming for a John Mayer level of smooth fm adult contemporary are they :

He’s breaking in a case of suds at the Brass Rail fall down drunk,

with his tongue torn out and his balls removed.

Album comes out Aug 7th from Jagjaguwar. You can preorder from the website now. I already did.

Link – Okkervil River – The Stage Names

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