Watch 'em here.
"Walked Out on a Line" sounds a lot more country influenced than a lot of Okkervil River's stuff. You can mostly hear it in the high falsetto parts. The lyrics seem more surreal than the usual grounded-but-eloquent, and I'm not sure how much I like it. I get that the song is about doing quite a lot of drugs, but I always loved the stark simplicity of Sheff's lyrics, the elegant way they disemboweled you. This song seems a little bit more obvious, I suppose. It's pretty enough, though to allow me to overlook some of my reservations.
"Lay of the Last Survivor" is more in line with the songs he wrote for "The Stand-Ins". The little wordless whine he does later in the song is more yelp than musical, but it works. The crescendo near the end is effective despite being a well-worn trick in the Sheff toolbox.
The two songs are enjoyable, and I'd love to hear them properly worked up, and recorded with the whole band, but they're not as exciting as I hoped. There's an oomph that's missing, be it the weight of the full band, or the more impressionistic lyrics resonating less. We'll see how things shape up, I suppose.