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Julie Doiron / Okkervil River

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Album Review

Julie Doiron's half of this split CD on the Spanish Acuarela label strips away everything but Doiron's plaintive voice and her gentle acoustic guitar backing. The five songs are short, spare, heart-wrenching, and bedroom recorded. Doiron, never a slave to pitch, lets her voice wander as the emotion dictates, and when she clunks a note on guitar, she lets it be. "Snowfalls in November," a sprightly, hopeful tune, is the highlight, but all five songs are solid. The only problem is that the songs start to sound a little samey after a bit. Luckily, there aren't enough songs here to really let that be a problem. The other band on the split single, Okkervil River, is an alt-country band in the vein of Wilco or Palace. Will Robison Sheff's wavering and sometimes over the top vocals preside over a swirling big top jammed with Wurlitzers, accordions, and loads of guitars. When the band keeps it all together, like on the sprawling "He Passes Number Thirty-Three" or the epic "Blackest Coat" (at least until Sheff starts bellowing), it is a very pleasant racket. When Sheff oversings like a backwoods Bocelli and the band saws monotonously away on "Omie Wise" or Sheff's lyrics are squirmy like on "A Leaf," the band should change its name to Overkill River. A very uneven release for them. And in fact, a very uneven split single as the stark intimacy of Doiron's songs and the jam-packed and barely under control songs by Okkervil River don't really blend at all.

Biography

Born: 28 June 1972 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Julie Doiron began her musical career in 1990, singing and playing bass for the Canadian indie rock band Eric's Trip. As the group released numerous EPs and three albums for Sub Pop, Doiron also began writing her own largely acoustic material. When Eric's Trip broke up in 1996, she released an album under the name Broken Girl on Sappy Records, her own label. Later that year, Doiron worked on her second album, Loneliest in the Morning, which came out on Sub Pop and was recorded with prominent indie...
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Julie Doiron / Okkervil River, Julie Doiron
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