Black Sheep Boy Appendix
I'm shocked and appalled that it took me so long to notice the parallels between Tim-Hardin-via-Okkervil-River's Black Sheep Boy and eternity's greatest comic book character, Hellboy. The cloven hooves, the rough-hewn horns, Satan's hellfire ... the only thing missing is a stone fist and we've got some kind of retroactive copyright infringement. This realization only further cements my love for the previous full-length -- not that there was any worry of it lessening -- and now, its appendix.
Closer to the heart of Okkervil River's previous mournful stumble and the poppier direction hinted at on Black Sheep Boy proper, this disc welds pitch-perfect somber dirges like "Black Sheep Boy #4" to full-on Violent Femmes acoustic punk like "No Key, No Plan" and the guttural beauty of "Another Radio Song," with interludes of the same melody recycled on several instruments to bind the wrought-iron patchwork together. Like any good encore, a couple of songs here trump the initial offering -- "No Key, No Plan" and the closer, "Last Love Song For Now," topping the list -- but, by and large, the quality is on par with the rest of the groundwork. After putting their titular character through the emotional and physical wringer, this might be Okkervil's parting shot for this Boy. But from what I understand, Ron Perlman's going to be donning the Right Hand of Doom again soon for Hellboy 2, and if there's any justice in the universe, these folks will have a thing or two to say about the accompanying soundtrack.