The Stand Ins


Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29
  1. This Austin quintet follows 2007's "The Stage Names" with a second tour de force about the collateral damage of fame.
  2. Remember those old days when everything was perfect, when you were happy and all was right in your world, The Stand Ins achieves this.
  3. Okkervil River itself performs here with an organic ease that’s dramatic without reaching for histrionics, continuing to tattoo its rough folkish flesh with Motown horns, power-pop overdrive and chugging New Wave bass.
  4. All of Sheff’s characters once again come to life on The Stand Ins. More stories are told from the first person than on "The Stage Names," but the theme shines through.
  5. Sheff's narratives are still generous with details about porn stars and bland rich kids but they're also more focused than before, sharply describing characters who embrace the lies they find in art or in their heads for the sake of sanity.
  6. Just shy of a dozen songs, the ensemble of tracks on The Stand Ins is as rich and musically textured as any previous Okkervil River album
  7. Filter
    The Stand Ins is rich with traces of its conterpart. [Fall 2008, p.92]
  8. The Stand-Ins feels looser and breathier than "Stage Names."
  9. The Stand Ins continues that ambitious musical development [in "The Stage Names"], further roughing up the group's sound while sharpening its attack to an even finer point, and refining some of their old tricks while introducing new ones.
  10. 80
    The Stand Ins, is packed with the same compound sentences, sprawling narratives, and precarious, barn-dance guitars that made its companion piece, 2007's "The Stage Names," so weirdly gripping.
  11. Self-conscious as the lyrics are, the music is uninhibited: lurching into motion like a bar band, picking up speed, piling up instruments and letting them fall away.
  12. 80
    Sheff straddles the line between precious and brilliant, warbling twisty, appositive-packed tales about life on the road and crumbled relationships over cranked-up, vaguely folkish rock riffs.
  13. The Stand-Ins, reportedly taped at the same time as "Stage Names," is an improvement, not least because Sheff punishes himself (rather humorously) for the sin of relying on tragic heroes at all.
  14. The Stand Ins is a solid achievement cut from the same charming cloth, even if it doesn’t crisp in quite the same way "The Stage Names" did.
  15. Alternative Press
    The pair of albums don't feel at all like a gimmick, but more like a labor of love that gives each of frontman Will Sheff's characters the appropriate amount of time to shine. [Oct 2008, p.152]
  16. The frustrated love Sheff puts into every Motown bassline, soaring brass section and uplifting chorus means the songs sound inspiring, not bleak.
  17. The Stand Ins is assured, ambitious and occasionally transcendent in its appeal--a worthy expansion of its forerunner and standalone joy in itself.
  18. Though it stands up well enough on its own The Stand Ins does feel like a follow-up, rather than something completely new and fresh and forward looking, and it is not as instantly gripping as The Stage Names, it takes longer to wind your way into your mind.
  19. Uncut
    The Stand Ins stands out on its own merits, a trove of dazzlingly wittty songcraft. [Nov 2008, p.112]
  20. They ["The Stage Names" and The Stand Ins]were released as distinct (though interrelated) albums, and this one is better.
  21. It's a straight line from Pet Sounds to Pulp's Different Class, and while Stand Ins and its predecessor share R&B riffs affected with a country twang, connecting this latest dip in the Okkervil to a '90s Pulp-y-ness is a refreshing move.
  22. Stand Ins glows a little less bright than its' predecessor, but it shines nonetheless.
  23. Whether The Stand Ins is a sequel to "The Stage Names" album, a companion piece, or a reimagining hardly matters; its pleasures and frustrations are entirely approachable on their own terms.
  24. Though Sheff’s lyrics can be too earnest sometimes, there’s no doubt he’s one of the most exciting songwriters of recent years, and The Stand Ins is another fine entry in the band’s discography.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jan 29, 2012
    Okkervil River is one of the best bands to come out of Austin. "The Stand Ins" has a few flaws but for the most part, it's a great album.Okkervil River is one of the best bands to come out of Austin. "The Stand Ins" has a few flaws but for the most part, it's a great album. "Lost Coastlines" is an excellent track and really opens the album up to more amazing tracks that are unpredictable. Will Sheff's lyrics are sad at times but you can really relate. All In All, "The Stand Ins" is a really great album. I recommend it. B+ Full Review »