The Stand Ins
Okkervil River isn’t comfortable with celebrity, said Stephen M. Deusner in Pitchforkmedia.com. And not just its own minor taste of it. The Austin pop outfit is skeptical about the whole culture that surrounds rock stardom. The Stand Ins, the thematic companion to last year’s The Stage Names, explores the group’s disillusioned theory about pop prominence: “Rock promises redemption but delivers only destruction.” Though Okkervil River disguises its discontent in jingly-jangly guitars and buoyant bass lines, the album’s folksy ditties are anything but joyous. In their songs, lead singers are egomaniacs, “groupies have regrets, music scenes wither, nothing changes.” The Stand Ins is definitely bleaker than its predecessor, said Bret McCabe in The New York Sun. On “Pop Lie,” frontman Will Sheff “points out the obvious shallowness of pop,” singing “He’s the liar who lied in his pop song / and you’re lying when you sing along.” Using lyrical wit to “acknowledge the artifice of writing,” Sheff delivers “one of the most successful fusions of intellectual ennui and folk pop.” The boys of Okkervil River actually possess the “originality and authenticity” their songs praise, said Kenneth Partridge in The Hartford Courant. They’re here to play music, not just get girls.