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2023/4 Albums Thing 263 - Okkervil River “In The Rainbow Rain”

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Okkervil River’s most recent release which I acquired because 1) I like them 2) it was there, and 3) it’s on very pretty Purple marbled vinyl. Released in 2018, they had released another 5 albums between “The Stand Ins” and this one including one with former 13th Floor Elevator Roky Erikson.

As noted before, singer and main songwriter Will Sheff has a fragile kind of voice and a warped sense of lyric writing, on this album there’s definitely a flavour of Jonathan Richman about some of Sheff’s delivery. First song “Famous Tracheotonics” is about himself and various other celebrities, Gary Coleman (the actor from “Diff'rent Strokes” if you were wondering), Mary Wells, Dylan Thomas, Ray Davies, who have all had tracheotomies. It also features a musical steal from The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset” as Ray Davies experience with this particular medical procedure indirectly inspired that wonderful song.

I’m honestly struggling with how to describe Okkervil River to you. Wikipedia tags them as being Indie, Folk and Alternative rock, none of those are wrong, but you could also tag them as Americana on the level of this being obviously American music rather than countrified which is what Americana has come to represent. Yet this album features wide use of synthesisers, electronic percussion and processed guitars and I can’t help feeling the influence of Bowie on them (listen to the Sax on “The Dream And The Light” it’s pure asthmatic Bowie Sax). They’re not an easy band to pin down, which I guess is what makes them interesting to me.

Pulled Up The Ribbon - https://youtu.be/PZ7bMUsOu7w?si=p1DIMtNdsY75PKAN

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