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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.

Customer Reviews

What are you guys talking about?

This album was great! Julie Doiron was cool and smooth and at moments just damn good. And as for Will Sheff I don't understand the iTunes official review's attack. He is as amazing as he always has been. He typifies what it means to be an emotional singer. He may not have the conventions that some expect but if you give this or any of his albums a chance you will feel a surge of emotion that defys convention. A great purchase. Buy it Now!

Oh Failed Amalgam!!

Umm, I can't say this is a very cohesive release. Granted, both Julie Doiron and Okkervil River are superb in their own right, but leaves more to be desired; it’s overwhelmingly lacking and tart. That tartness the derivation of O-River's lack of focus here--they miss the mark completely, while Julie Doiron's work is meandering, haunting, and delicate: the contrast of lush and harsh is too much to bear, considering that these two probably could've worked out something beautiful. Check out the first 5 songs, especially "The Sweetest Eyes" and the last track, but the rest can be chucked.

could be better but still stands

I am not sure what was suppose to happen with the split record here so, it may have worked but not for me. I can't say that I have ever really heard of Ms. Doiron before and based on this recording I am not sure that I ever want to again as I find the lyrics trite, lacking the playing standard and the tracks poorly recorded, even for a bedroom 4 track. If you like her stuff then you will probably like her tracks here. Okkervil River is a great band that has put out some stunning stuff and as where I would not rank this with more recent albums I would put it on par for their early recordings with a more stripped feel. I am giving O.R. the 4 stars and not starring Ms. Doiron's performance as I am not a fan or have I been exposed enough to her music.


Born: June 28, 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...
Full Bio