I Am Very Far

The sixth album from this Texas sextet opens wide on "the valley of the rock & roll dead," frontman Will Sheff baying in anguish over a booming backbeat. Past records may have favored a more literal approach, but I Am Very Far is dense and hallucinatory roots music: "We Need a Myth" is lavished in baroque strings, "Hanging From a Hit" is wobbly with reverb, and "Rider," with its pounding pianos, 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 the album more sinister.

Listen to Okkervil River's "Show Yourself":

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From The Archives Issue 1133: June 23, 2011