“A song that aims to sensitize the listener could sensitize her to, for example, the moment she’s in when she hears it: a breeze in the air, the wind in tree branches, light hitting the sidewalk a certain way,” he says. “A piece of music has the ability to take you out of your head — [out of] spinning with stress and anxiety and self-consciousness and self-hatred — and just put you in the moment, either alone or at a concert with a whole group of people.” Will Sheff CoS
Okkervil River’s latest album Away is a collar up brisk wind New England experience before the Fall. In the dying days of the track “Okkervil River RIP” there are the seeds of morning, a new americana. Its there throughout the rest of the album, in bird song and the undulations of widening word streams, long form narratives in the tradition of outside observers Bob Dylan and Lloyd Cole in his American circumstances. There is the embrace of the beauty inherent in death, the exuberant embrace of existentialism angst of Ian McCulloch and his Echos of Bunneymen.
But Will Sheff, the fount of Okkervil River is no outsider, he is deep inside his America. He has imagined sonic atmospherics ine the same channel as Patrick Watson or Bon Iver, six and seven minute long mid-rift musings, meanderings and free flow thoughts, even musically with flutters of flute and the thudderings of percussions set loose to disappear into the edges of the song.
Its as if Sheff gathered whatever flew up from the forest floor on early morning Walden-like walks, momentarily cupped it in his hands, a brief look through the bars of his fingers and then set free. Sheff has the airs of Springsteen and the drive to chase the dream, the desire and need to run and he has the great sense of the weightlessness of his life in the manner of Lou Reed and the whole great task of giving form to your own worth and with Away Okkervil River have made an album that belongs in the canon of Weird Americana, one stretching deep back into the woods and roots of those first European sons but one too that saunters along the sidewalks of leafy suburbs in the bright light of the inner moment.