Wednesday, January 06, 2010
TK #17: Okkervil River – The Stage Names (2007)
This one is a quiet stunner, a grower, an album that seems good at first but turns great over time as the melodies stick and churn in your head. By turns rollicking (“Unless It’s Kicks,” “You Can’t Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man”) and heart-stoppingly lovely (“Savannah Smiles,” “A Girl in Port”), The Stage Names is the work of a band that understands dynamics, the tension created by moving from a whisper to a scream. There is real power in a quiet moment, and this album is full of them. And as I listened for the first time in a long time while preparing to write this, it struck me that the record is even better than I remembered. Bump this up ten or fifteen spots, and I wouldn’t quibble a bit.