I Am Very Far
Okkervil River were gradually improving their public profile when they became Texas rock legend Roky Erickson’s backing band. Together, they assembled the album True Love Cast Out All Evil, a brilliant comeback record that taught the group a few subtle lessons. I Am Very Far is, arguably, the band’s tightest record to date. There’s a simplicity here that turns songs such as “Rider” and “Lay of the Last Survivor” into direct hits. Will Sheff rarely overdoes his vocals and when he does allow a greater theatrical flourish, he pulls it off, e.g. the punchy “We Need a Myth”. Sheff produced the album and he knows the value of a few carefully placed instruments. “Hanging From a Hit” has moments of austerity. “Show Yourself” plays like a liquid ballad with the chords sloshing around the backseat while Sheff sings to the moonlight. “The Rise” is a virtual trip, a haunting six-minute exploration of sound and harmony where the band let it loose.