"Mermaid" is the darkest song you''ll hear all year: a self-contained fable shot through with evocative and disturbing imagery but rising to a sweeping, romantic, oddly moving climax. This waltz-time ballad gestures towards the tattered folk of Okkervil River''s beloved 2005 album Black Sheep Boy, but somehow unearths something much more mysterious and blurrily ambiguous. With "Walked Out On a Line" we get a glimpse of what might further emerge. Choral and atmospheric and stripped of any of the acoustic textures that have defined much of the band''s past work.
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