Okkervil River: Sleep and Wake-Up Songs 12" (new; Record Store Day 2015)
On Sleep and Wake-Up Songs, Okkervil River and principal songwriter Will Sheff take advantage of a break between albums to present a small collection of five more meditative songs that toss little boomerangs across the distance between what is and what could never be. They try on a loose-fitting felt suit of Tim Hardin-esque folk-pop, wade until soaked into a misty psychedelic duet, strap on an electric guitar for a lark, stack the overlapping refrains of Sheff and Minus Story?s Jordan Geiger into a Phil Spector-esque ecstacy of sexual confusion, and finally strip things down to naked and initiate a straightforward love song. These five songs have a thematic unity and a serious purpose, but the modesty of the EP format allows the band to carry them off with a candid sense of playfulness. Next spring will see a new full-length from Okkervil River; in the meantime, rest awhile in these songs.