Shearwater: Animal Joy (Sub Pop)

 |   |  <1 min read

Shearwater: You As You Were
Shearwater: Animal Joy (Sub Pop)

Jonathan Meiburg -- the mainman in Shearwater, a member of Austin's Okkervil River and a diligent ornithologist with an interest in distant places -- doesn't want for ambition. Shearwater previously released a trilogy of albums (or “triptych” as Sub Pop had it) about the effect of the changing global environment and Mankind on the planet, and specifically on remote islands.

(Or something like that, I never quite got it).

And this dramatically charged collection seems to use the animal kingdom and our own animal nature as metaphors while Meiburg delivers his intense and sometimes obfuscated lyrics with the passion of Peter Gabriel and Talk Talk as he heroically soars over brittle guitars, dense and driving rhythms and arrangements of orchestral breadth.

This much emotional and lyrical intensity (he has a master's degree in geography), not to mention the high pitch of his impressive lung-power, can be demanding.

But at the midpoint they throw in Immaculate which is sort of driving New Wave-meets-REM, and later there is respite in the broody ballad Run the Banner Down.

Not easy, but even as it pins you to a wall or sometimes makes your heart rise up with it, this beautifully crafted, superbly realised and melodic music is often impressive, and a bit prog.

You do wonder though if the lyric sheet shouldn't have come with footnotes, in-text referencing and a bibliography.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Seth Haapu: Seth Haapu (Sony)

Seth Haapu: Seth Haapu (Sony)

Although this suffers a little, but only a very little, from the showcasing which often attends any debut -- and has one of those now customary intro tracks which seem de rigueur on hip-hop albums,... > Read more

The Bads: Travel Light (Warners)

The Bads: Travel Light (Warners)

In an interview some years ago Graham Brazier said that in the rush to embrace younger artists, New Zealand had created what he called "adult contempt". If you were over 28 you were... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE T.A.M.I. AWARDS, a concert film by STEVE BINDER

THE T.A.M.I. AWARDS, a concert film by STEVE BINDER

Widely considered one of the best rock films ever made, this long-overdue DVD release might throw you back to 1964 ( to the Teenage Awards Music International) but from the hysteria with which the... > Read more

Mr Lee Grant: Tabatha Twitchit (1968)

Mr Lee Grant: Tabatha Twitchit (1968)

New Zealand's Mr Lee Grant enjoyed a short but high profile career in the late Sixties on the back of his big voice (and distinctive hairstyle which was very Mary Quant). But Grant's voice... > Read more