The Stand Ins

The Stand Ins

A welcome sequel to 2007's cinematic The Stage Names, the similarly heady fifth studio album from Okkervil River was originally meant to be the second companion disc to The Stage Names. But don't think that The Stand Ins comprises outtakes and extras that didn't make the cut in 2007. Had the album's predecessor never happened, this one could easily stand on its own with catchy and captivating folk-rooted narratives that touch on subjects of loving, losing, loneliness, and even fallen pop star adoration — "Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed On The Roof Of The Chelsea Hotel, 1979" is a powerful and epic tribute to the late, great Jobriath (a '70s glam rock singer whose decision to be the first openly gay rock star unfortunately overshadowed his enormous talent). On songs like the scathing "Singer Songwriter" and the biting "Pop Lie," frontman Will Sheff displays a Dylanesque knack for cutting the subjects of his songs down with a scholarly honed sardonic edge. Other gems like "Calling And Not Calling My Ex" boast gripping prose set to well-arranged and memorable song craft that's somewhat reminiscent of Scott Walker's solo works. Guitar player Charles Bissell of The Wrens and Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg contribute to the album.

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