Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Okkervil River 'In The Rainbow Rain'

Okkervil River releases new album In the Rainbow Rain on ATO Records.

The American musician, Will Sheff, under the guise of Okkervil River returns with his new studio album. Produced by Sheff himself, the new album is a step up in songwriting form, as too long under the radar, Sheff is making a break for the mainstream by producing an album that is relatable and singles that are radio-friendly and have that unique ear-worm quality.

Coupled with luscious productions, there are swooning synths and bombastic guitar licks, married with some great vocal work by Sheff himself and on backing vocals, most notably on the epic 'The Dream and the Light'.  

Driving melodic anthems appear in 'Love Somebody' and 'Pulled by the Ribbon' along with lead single 'Don't Move Back to LA'; there is an emotional vulnerability running through the music. A need to understand where Sheff was when he started writing the album was late 2016 after Donald Trump was elected. 

With touring ending, the band reconvened to Brooklyn and for the first time Sheff wrote with the band, and the wave of collaboration is running through the album, no less on 'Family Song', and the songs sing as this sense of unity and togetherness comes out of the speakers.

Whilst there are moments of anger and disconnect within the album, these are off-set by the uplifting moments of euphoric joy which makes it a pleasing record to listen to and one you go back to for several listens. 

Mixed by Shawn Everett - who has worked with The War on Drugs - it also has that hook-worthy notion reminiscent of Elbow and Ed Harcourt's work.

Will Sheff - Okkervil River's under-rated songwriter

An album that is indicative of the changing socio-political climate in America; one that is looking towards the horizon rather than worrying about the here and now. The idealist virtue prevalent in American culture is strong in this brilliant new album.  For this reviewer, it may well be one of the best albums of 2018.

You get the feeling that this would be a great album to hear live. Okkervil River tour Britain in early October stopping off at Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton and culminating with a headline show at Koko, Camden on October 10th.

In The Rainbow Rain is out from ATO Records on 27th April.

My thanks to One Beat PR for the review opportunity.

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