“You would have to tie me to a chair to make me listen to any Okkervil River record,” bandleader Will Sheff told Pitchfork in an interview discussing their forthcoming LP, I Am Very Far. For Sheff, promotional Q&As are akin to an “autopsy,” in which raking over the details of an album removes its mystery to the point that past works look like — as he bluntly put it — “piles of guts.”
While I hadn’t read that piece last night, I could see how he’d be uncomfortable analyzing new material after hearing Okkervil River also spill their guts on the LP’s new B-side, “Mermaid,” released as a single today alongside another non-album cut, “Walked Out on a Line.” Not many bands could pull off a tune based on a mythological creature with such personal resonance, passionate attention to detail, and even a touch of melodrama like Okkervil River have here. Upon first listen, raw moments from their third album, Black Sheep Boy, come to mind, which Sheff said employed a similar songwriting approach to I Am Very Far (“trying to push my brain into places it didn’t want to go”).
Well, if tunes as anthemic as this didn’t even make the record, it just might be their best full-length yet. Read more from Sheff’s interview and stream “Mermaid” here.
Okkervil River – “Mermaid”