As an avid Okkervil River fan (as well as a fan of sister band, Shearwater), I was elated to see the boys playing backup on the April 20th Roky Erickson release True Love Casts Out All Evil. I expected only the best from my familiar folk rock ensemble. What I did not expect, however, is to fall madly for Erickson’s music upon the first listen. Miracles happen everyday.
From what I understand, the boys of Okkervil grew up as fans of Erickson’s wild music and rock career, and the match was made in Heaven, as Erickson found solace in the musical integrity of the new age Southern alt-rock group. Okkervil River, headed by musical genius Will Sheff, found major acclaim with their latest 2008 album, The Stand Ins.
The magic behind this album is that it gives hope for closure of the generational gap between classic rock and new alternative rock. I think there is a shattering stigma behind collaboration albums these days wherein there is almost an expectation of confrontation and competition between the adjoining forces. With this album, the heart is truly in the music. There is such an effortless breeze of both emotion and understanding between Erickson and his country cohorts; it is as though they grew up with the same music styling, only decades apart. I think there is an admirable side on both behalves in knowing that they can put their own careers aside to learn and lengthen each others’.
The best display of these earnest affections on True Love is the track “Goodbye Sweet Dreams.” With such a mesmerizing mew of vocals, backed with a sentimental screeching sadness, the track truly oozes heartache and hopeless wishing, both emotions clearly shared by the two artistic forces. It is simple, striking, jarring, and most undeniably fresh, in other words, all that one could hope for in an album shared between two supporters of musical greatness.
For more info on True Love Casts Out All Evil, check out the special edition Anti-Records indie rock coverage and download link.