For 2007’s critically acclaimed album The Stage Names, songwriter Will Sheff came into the backyard shack that is Okkervil River’s rehearsal space with twice as many songs as would fit on a single record. Culled from a 22-song woodshedding session the band had done for fun in Sheff’s old house in Austin, as well as from Sheff’s Stage Names writing sessions in Brooklyn, these songs enlarged and expanded the Stage Names theme to cinemascopic proportions. “We had so many songs we were excited about that we briefly threw around the idea of just putting out a double record,” says Sheff. “Instead, we decided to take a small group of the songs that seemed to fit with each other and turn that into The Stage Names, setting the rest aside for a future release, a Stage Names sequel.”

The Stand Ins is that sequel, part two of a staggered double album. Throughout The Stand Ins, songs are woven together by (and unravel into) lush orchestral overtures and interludes. The listener is showered with ear candy. The album hugs you close and pushes you away. People leave home, never to return. First love is consummated. Ill-considered passes are made. Violence is threatened. Beers are overturned. The album takes the listener on a long journey sped through in fast-forward, from an ocean quay to the only decent bar in town, from a shopping mall to a Hollywood screening room, from the roof of the Chelsea Hotel to, finally, the furthest corners of the galaxy.