Okkervil River
Down the River of Golden Dreams


5.0
classic

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
August 31st, 2011 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deep and personable, it hits uncomfortable close to home and softly demands attention.

Oh Down The River Of Golden Dreams, I feel sorry for you. Left alone, without a review among a discography boasting several per album. Maybe it's because you're so hard to define. Of all of them you're the best, you know, but don't confuse this statement with pity. It's not. It just has to be said. You mark the perfect moment in a transition phase between the focus on instrumentality and lyrical excellence, if we're going to jump straight into the gist of it.

But let's not. Let's say instead that you deal in charm. The result of so many variables that it's almost impossible to measure. Could it be from the warmth brought by the subtle use of an organ? Or maybe from the dream-like exterior or even the fact that Sheff's voice only just stretches to that note? Wherever it comes from you've got it in buckets. In the end, it's humanity that flows in your veins. You're caught up in tales and imaginings, with a title like that... but I know you. God, do I know you. You mask your true intentions from me as if you think you can fool me into thinking that you're only preoccupied with things that never happened, that don't matter! The undercurrent of deep, dark depression is not something that should have surprised me, considering the artist, but never has it been so connected as it has with you. Even your faster tracks carry with them the all-too-familiar tint of desperation and anguish.

But we should slow down, lest we get carried away with ourselves. You are just a collection of notes, after all. Purely artificial, yet becoming biological on your arrival. Oh, what does it matter anyway? An overall theme made of patched pieces of interconnecting stories - further compiled by threads of lyrical sleight-of-hand so finely woven together... you made it so easy for me to fall in love with you. Your instrumental efforts didn't go unnoticed either, don't worry, that mandolin solo in Yellow had me obsessed for days.

You do have your flaws, but then again don't we all? You play to your strengths, though, and somehow you manage to make the most out of them. The somewhat shaky singing, for instance, adds to the charm and makes the message a lot more relatable. The great musicianship which is often pushed to the background could be seen as an issue, but it makes it understated and allows for more exploration on inevitable repeated listens. And we both know how many of them there have been.

It took me a while to learn to accept and, eventually, love you, Golden Dreams. (May I call you that?) At first I only found joy in the bookends, but slowly, gradually, your multiple perspectives and soft tones intrigued me enough to delve deeper. I could never have hoped for a more rewarding endeavour, and my time with you only ever gets better.

Will you marry me?



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user ratings (112)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
SnazSpaz (4.5)
Every song seems to build up charm....


Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Horray for double posts.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Odd writing aside, fuck me this album's good.

Feedback is appreciated, I'm going to go and lie down...

bungy
August 31st 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

One of my favorite albums ever, finally a review

wabbit
August 31st 2011


7003 Comments


man I still haven't heard a song from these guys...how terrible am I?

bungy
August 31st 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

DIE

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


17215 Comments


I absolutely love Black Sheep Boy but I could never get into this or Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

DinoX
September 1st 2011


3582 Comments


Needed a review

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
September 1st 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"I absolutely love Black Sheep Boy but I could never get into this or Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See."

Both albums are a lot better than Black Sheep Boy.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
September 1st 2011


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Well that review died quick... oh well.

Eskate87
September 1st 2011


959 Comments


love Black Sheep Boy and Dont Fall In Love... Need to listen to this asap


bungy
September 1st 2011


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

NOW HE'S RISING AND NOT DENYING

HIS HANDS ARE SHAKING BUT HE'S NOT CRYING

GodL1ke
September 3rd 2011


804 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

amazing album

and pos'd

ABjordanMM
March 26th 2012


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The war criminal rises and speaks is a masterpiece.

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - Hope

YankeeDudel
June 8th 2012


9313 Comments


"I also am a "cutter". I haven't done it in 3 years. When the urge comes on, I listen to this song. Somehow it makes the feeling go away."

A comment on Youtube on "For Real" by this band.



Digging: Coroner - Mental Vortex

mindleviticus
June 10th 2012


8237 Comments


Always wondered why this was your avatar, Jonny. I'm listening to a few tracks by this guy and so far it's pretty good. Awesome review, too. I'm not a big fan of folk though, so don't expect anything too high from me haha :P

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

TheMilQ
June 26th 2012


57 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just wow, very good album! getting it tomorrow!

Nrap
June 21st 2013


153 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album. Holy shit.
It's nearly flawless.


Funeralopolis
July 9th 2013


11413 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

Digging: Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise

Spare
February 26th 2014


5311 Comments


such a good record damn

Digging: Best Witches - Wishes

Pheromone
July 27th 2014


3555 Comments


War Criminal & It Ends With a Fall are so good that they make every other song worse

Digging: Idlewild - The Remote Part



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