Okkervil River
Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See


4.5
superb

Review

by natey USER (46 Reviews)
February 28th, 2008 | 19 replies | 8,876 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The first full-size album released by the group, "Don't Fall In Love WIth Everyone You See" is Okkervil River at their best.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Okkervil River is a pretty special band. Will Sheff’s vocals encapsulate so much emotion, their happiest songs make me want cry. And as I am shedding my tears, I want to get up and dance, they fill me with such joy. Perhaps my example is a bit exaggerated, but I really do love his voice, and Okkervil’s style. They are quite folky, but get pretty upbeat as well. Their full-length debut, “Don’t Fall In Love With Everyone You See” is an amazing album. Released in January of 2002, it features the single “Kansas City”, and a score of other beautiful songs, making for a terrific record.

Okkervil River was spawned in a tiny high school in Meredith, New Hampshire. There, singer/songwriter frontman Will Sheff met the multifarious Zach Thomas and percussionist Seth Warren. All three shared a love for old American folk, which explains how they ended up together. However, college led to each musician heading their separate ways. Luckily, after college each ended up in Austin, Texas. In 1998 they formed Okkervil River, going on to record their first small CD, “Stars Too Small To Live”. After that they toured for a bit, before deciding to focus on another record. With the addition of their at the time fourth permanent member Jonathan Meiburg, they recorded and released “Don’t Fall In Love With Everyone You See”. “Stars Too Small To Live”, Okkervil’s first record, was very dark, dwelling on sadness. This album feels a bit more homely and according to Sheff focuses more on love, however, it is still pretty depressing.

As far as the solidarity of the album goes, there is honestly not one poor track on the record, and it features several outstanding ones. My two personal favorites are the opener, “Red”, and “Westfall”. “Red” is a fictional track about a dancer longing for her separated daughter. It has a very melancholy feel, expressing the sadness and passion within the mother. Its gentle but beautiful chord progression and the magnificent vocal line make for one of my favorite verses ever. “Westfall”, driven by mandolin, is a murder story, referencing the “Yogurt Shop Murders” in Austin, Texas. It is a haunting song, buildling throughout and climaxing with a loud ending, with the vocals “Evil don’t look like anything” shouted over and over.

Those are my favorites, but like I said before, my love for does not overshadow the beauty of the rest of the record. “Happy Hearts” is a nice song, featuring a banjo line and soft background strings. “Dead Dog Song”, an autobiographical track about the death of Sheff’s own dog, is an upbeat folky number with a strong bluegrassy feel. “Listening to Otis Redding At Home During Christmas” is simple, but gorgeous. Building towards the end, it comforts you on a lonely day, as the whole record has the potential to due, oozing with Sheff’s dry sympathy, definitely a record to play in a time of suffering or frustration. “Lady Liberty” is another terrific track, with blasting horns driven by a bouncy bassline. An angry song about misplaced love, the song perfectly itemizes its lyrics. And finally, for those of you incorrectly pronouncing the band name, the final track on the record leaves no doubt about its elocution, beginning with “Down by Ock-er-vil River…” Its sole purpose however, is not just to correct ignorant listeners; rather, it is as wonderful as the rest of the album, with its plucky mandolin figure and fantastic refrain.

The album features horns, strings, accordion, cello and a number of other instruments on it, which mesh perfectly to make an outstanding record. It is charming country folk music with real emotional power behind it, comparable to Cash, or more easily Conor Oberst or Will Oldham. And as much as I’ve talked about Sheff, it is not just his album. The entire band's music is just as important, and just as well executed. “Don’t Fall In Love With Everyone You See” is quintessential Okkervil River, a must have for fans of the group, and alt-country, or whatever you want to call the genre.

Recommended tracks:
Red
Westfall
Okkervil River Song



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user ratings (99)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
robin EMERITUS (5)
only the river stared back....


Comments:Add a Comment 
timbo8
February 29th 2008



618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really want to listen to this. Good review.

sgrevs
February 29th 2008



698 Comments


I only have the Stage Names, which is excellent, and Black Sheep Boy, which is ok. I don't think I will get this though, their older stuff seems to be a bit too folky/country for me. Great review nonetheless.

They are really tight live as well.

corb
March 20th 2008



59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really don't know if I should get this or not. I'm afraid it might be a bit too folky as sgrevs said, but the review was so well written that I am extremely tempted. How would you compare this to Black Sheep Boy? Oof, decisions.

natey
March 20th 2008



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like this better. I haven't given Black Sheep Boy nearly as much time though so it's tough for me to accurately compare the two. You could say this is folkier.

timbo8
February 9th 2009



618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm really enjoying this just as much as their more recent releases. One of the most impressive aspects of their music to me is the lyrics, they're excellent.This Message Edited On 02.09.09

natey
May 6th 2010



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Didn't even remember I reviewed this but damn a friend of mine got me into these guys again this month and everything they do is so magical

foreverendeared
December 27th 2010



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Had Black Sheep Boy. Saw this on slaysfordays. love it.

robin
Emeritus
January 17th 2011



4248 Comments


gonna get on that airplane and wave bye bye bye bye bye

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2011



15012 Comments


is this band any good

robin
Emeritus
January 17th 2011



4248 Comments


scheff's lyrics make them what they are, but once you've got those, everything falls into place.

kansas city: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlVcU1TdqNE

westfall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY1ku4q2CkU

natey
January 17th 2011



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Red" came on at my brother-in-law's house and he started ranting about how it sounds like "emo poems drenched in reverb and tears from someone who'll never fit into man pants..." and he listens to Linkin Park and Breaking Benjamin and he'll just never know how much cooler I am for loving this band : (

robin
Emeritus
January 17th 2011



4248 Comments


so long as i know you're cool.

natey
January 17th 2011



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah man represent

robin
Emeritus
January 23rd 2011



4248 Comments


this album warms my heart even though none of the songs are trying to

natey
January 23rd 2011



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love Down the Rver the most I think

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2012



23804 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh man i could 5 this if not for "Happy Hearts"

it's such a comedown too, directly after the intense buildup and climax of "Westfall" right into the horribly off pitch vocals of "Happy Hearts" ugh

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
September 30th 2012



23804 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can't get over this album. tracks 1,2,5,8, and 9 are all incredible.

ThunderNeutral21
November 27th 2012



3864 Comments


this fucking rules

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2013



23804 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and I'll tell you one thing that you should never do: never let no woman tell you she loves you. sure she'll call you "baby," she'll look you in your eye, gonna get on that airplane and wave bye bye bye bye bye bye, bye bye baby, baby bye bye, bye bye baby, so long, next time, so long, next time....

fucking perfect song



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