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  • Winged Life
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Winged Life Import

3 customer reviews

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Amazon's Shearwater Store


Image of album by Shearwater


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It’s been suggested—by fans, detractors, even by the band’s founder—that Shearwater and whatever we call underground/indie/whatever-rock in this part of the century are not an obvious fit. And that’s true. So much of what we hear these days (the lousy stuff, anyway) is willfully insular; Jonathan Meiburg’s songs, by contrast, have constantly tackled bigger ... Read more in Amazon's Shearwater Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Aug. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Fargo
  • ASIN: B000295TYQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 248,701 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. A Hush
2. My Good Deed
3. Whipping Boy
4. The Kind
5. A Makeover
6. (I've Got A) Right To Cry
7. Wedding Bells.... 
8. St. Mary's Walk
9. The World in 1984
10. The Convert
11. Sealed
12. The Set Table

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By russell clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2004
Format: Audio CD
I don't know whether my discernment radar has been more highly tuned, or whether it's just been one of those years, but 2004 has produced a plethora of truly stunning albums. Iron and Wine, Gravenhurst, Lucky Jim, Laura Viers, and now Winged Life by Shearwater.
Dubbed "Chamber pop music" by one critic it certainly possesses a keen sense of fragile acute melody, but is far too brilliantine and brittle in it's arrangements to be classed as pop, and far too gorgeously aqueous in structure to compare to something as stately as chamber music. If pushed I'd call it lava music. After all what's lava but melted rock. This music glows with warmth but has an irresistible free flowing quality that recalls bands like Ar Kane, and later Talk Talk while prowling the same wracked emotional landscape as American Music Club. Whatever spurious labels you hang on this music, one thing for certain. It's superb.
I suppose it will labelled as Alt -country by most with it's use of traditional instrumentation such as banjo_"Whipping Boy", lap steel-"Kind" and "Wedding Bells" and violin -"Hush" and "Set Table". but there's a contemporary ascetic at the heart of this album that eschews that particular genre, at least to my mind. The real crowning glory of these songs is Jonathan Meiburgs vocals which add a quavering layer of suspense. He has the happy knack of being able to stretch his voice from a trembling lower register yearning to a spiralling on the edge yodel whilst never losing the resonant heart of the song. At the conclusion of the wondrous "St Marys Walk" a desperate raw edge enters his voice and it makes the song even more affecting. Only one song on this album is less than convincing. "The Convert" sees Meiburg in a rush to match his vocals to the tumble down acoustic guitars and it doesn't suit him.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David J. Kelly VINE VOICE on 23 Mar. 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The lead protagonist of Shearwater is Will Shelf, an ornithologist and keyboardist with Texan indie rockers Okkervil River. Winged Life is the third album by his own band and it is a reflective, wistful record about being an adult. Songs deal with themes such as the break up of your circle of friends as they all go off and start families or the realisation that you have to play with the cards you've been dealt or the pleading to be given a chance to shine.

Highlights are Whipping Boy with its compelling banjo picking and percussion echoing Shelf's vocals. the melancholic keyboard and strum of The Kind, and the metronomic cynicism of The Makeover or the Convert. This is a great introspective record, perfect for a wet Sunday morning nursing a mild hangover.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Mar. 2005
Format: Audio CD
If you read the above reviews you might just run away with the idea that this album is virtually flawless. Well, it's not. I agree with the references to Talk Talk and the ad-hoc nature of the music but, unfortunately, I never got over the fact that the singer's voice is weak. Some songs seem to have real potential but this seems to get lost in the lack of any structure or obvious direction.
I was dissapointed, but if you like ramshackle music with a slightly quirky vocal overlaying it please don't let me put you off.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Terrific Album 1 May 2004
By Shamus Macgillicuddy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Though Okkervil River and Shearwater share band members (most noticeably singer-songwriters Will Sheff and Jonathan Meiburg), and the lyrics of both bands tend to sound a little like Raymond Carver stories (I'm not kidding), they differ sharply in tone. Okkervil River: Occasionally rollicking with patches of darkness and yearning. Shearwater: Drifting, damaged and picking up the pieces.
WINGED LIFE is something new. It's like Shearwater has picked-up the pieces and started to build. Still a very different band from Okkervil River, WINGED LIFE finds Shearwater exploring and expanding and generally developing into something new. Like a mopey guy who's finally managed to distill knowledge from his sadness, and move on (with a touch of melancholy) into an uncertain future.
Anyway, whether this new mood garners a third band name is up to the boys in charge. But whatever they're called, you should check out the full body of work that these musicians are producing. It's exciting and vital and beautiful.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Top Offering of 2004 17 Sept. 2004
By M. Gaines - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hands down one of the most beautifully crafted pieces of music you'll ever here this year, that is, if you choose to pick up a copy. Be sure not to loan this one out as you'll never get it back.

Amazing writing and studio performance, production guided by the amazing Matt Pence (centro matic).
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Shallow 16 Jun. 2005
By Jim Carey - Published on
Format: Audio CD
...but not in a bad way. In fact not as a negative description at all, but rather the way this melodic razor cuts. The perfect album to fall asleep or commit suicide to. Stunning and haunting. Meiburg's distant vocals, paired with Sheff's, creep out over lush and dreamlike landscapes of sound. I cannot seriously do this group justice in my pathetic, fan ravings.
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