I Am Very Far
The sixth album from Okkervil River opens wide on "the valley of the rock and roll dead," frontman Will Sheff baying in anguish over a booming backbeat. The band's past records may have favored a hyper-literate, near-narrative approach, but Far is a dense and hallucinatory album that seems to take place in what T.S. Eliot once called "death's dream kingdom," a kind of phantasmagoric frontier where sensation trumps storytelling. "We Need A Myth" is lavished in baroque strings, "Hanging From a Hit" is wobbly with reverb, and "Rider," with its pounding pianos and charging bass, has the fevered gallop of an apocalyptic horseman. Their meaning remains tantalizingly elusive. All that's clear in Far is that something wicked is on its way. That its shape can't be discerned only makes it more sinister.