Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium

‘The Silver Gymnasium’ the latest record from Will Sheff and co under the Okkervil River moniker is an absolute blast. Based loosely on his childhood and set in the mid-eighties you can tell from the outset that the band are going to have some fun. A confident piano ushers in the record on ‘It Was My Season’ before being joined by the full band complete with a jaunty horn section, think The Polyphonic Spree’s exuberant sound with a dash of Arcade Fire. lyrically dense there is always a new quirky line to discover on repeat listens and the pace doesn’t lets up through ‘On a Balcony’, ‘  Down Down the Deep River’ and ‘Pink-slips’. It’s only when you reach ‘Lido Pier Suicide Car’ that the band take the foot of the brake slightly and Sheff’s tenor voice becomes a greater presence in the composition. Then another musical rollercoaster including the Echo and the Bunnymen style ‘White’, the pop of ‘Stay Young’ and the epic ‘All the Time Every Day’ before once again slowing down slightly for the album closer ‘Black Nemo’. The record is much more accessible than some of the bands previous output and its sheer scale both lyrically and musically reminds me of ‘Mobile Home’ by The Longpigs but whatever it is about this record it just keeps me going back for more and every time I do I find a little something else to fall in love with.

okkervil river

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