Okkervil River – I Am Very Far
April 27, 2011
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When a lead singer announces that an album is “to not be accessible and not be crowd pleasing,” the album will generally divide opinions from those that listen to it. This is exactly whatOkkervilRiverlead singer Will Sheff said. The die-hard fans will accept and love the changes, while others would prefer to cast it away and pick up something flashier.
In this current “ADD” generation, where people lose interest in things too complex or lengthy, I Am Very Far would struggle to find new fans forOkkervilRiver. This is a shame, because it’s not a bad album. But the lack of any obvious singles or stand-outs on the album will result in limited airplay, for a band that has never been to popular on the airways to being with.
Even in the album title, there is this sense of isolation. I Am Very Far indicates an intention of being separate, being alone from the everyday, and is a more than suitable title for an album that needs to be listened to many times before being completely found out.
If you’re willing to put the time in I Am Very Far, you’ll uncover a number of hidden gems. With the rollicking ballad of We Need a Myth, we get this sense of desperation that the vocalist feels in life – In a myth/The sun that shines on my head/The moon that lights me to bed/Were two identical twins – a rather poignant reminder of the tribulations of us all. On the other hand, the more jovial Wake and Be Fine is the most catchy song on the album and could be the hook that holds potential fans. Wi
th the line “you’ve still got time to wake and be fine” there is a sense of improvement in the mental state of the vocalist.
I Am Very Far needs a deliberate approach from the listener. It’s not an album you can listen to randomly as it shuffles on your iPod, but it should be played at a time when you can absorb the hidden nuances in the songs. It shows a degree of change in the band, who are doing as they want, rather than being accessible and listening to orders from crowds. This may be fun for them, but at the end of the day, it’s the crowds that give the bands their money.