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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quality and the Exceptional Continues.
I was drawn to Shearwater through The Golden Archipelago, an album I never tire of. It was with much interest I approached Animal Joy, wondering if the beauty and lyricism could be repeated, much to my delight I found this was so and even in some cases surpassed.
If you are new to Shearwater they were formed in 1999 by Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff, since Will...
Published 21 months ago by Ghostgrey51

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Scotish Elbow
Emotive rock straight from Elbow's stable. You get the feeling you have heard this before. Good. Great singer, good band, great song writing though the compositions feel like they have been set to a pattern. Leaves the whole feeling empty.
Published 19 months ago by Christof


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quality and the Exceptional Continues., 7 July 2012
By 
Ghostgrey51 (Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
I was drawn to Shearwater through The Golden Archipelago, an album I never tire of. It was with much interest I approached Animal Joy, wondering if the beauty and lyricism could be repeated, much to my delight I found this was so and even in some cases surpassed.
If you are new to Shearwater they were formed in 1999 by Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff, since Will Sheff's departure the band has become a vehicle for Meiburg's work. He is blessed by a soaring and clear voice and a poetical approach to his song writing thus as creator and performer of songs we are able to enjoy a powerful combination. At the risk of causing trouble by comparisons Shearwater occupy the same territory of textured poetical work as Fleet Foxes, but without the harmonies and at times a harder and starker edge.
The previous album was based on one central theme inspired by Meiburg's visits to various islands; Animal Joy covers various views on life and relationships, the main strength being a band at ease with various styles. From the brilliant flowing of words trickling then streaming out over music in the first track Animal Life, along the wild defiance of Yearlings, through the stark drama of Insolence into the straightforward rock of Immaculate. The central strength being the clarity of the voice and harmony of the music; a true combination of instrumentation with no domination by guitar or keyboard. Another work of beauty.
Whereas this is Meiburg's show, he has been assiduous in his choice of musicians for this album, for the high standard could not have been achieved without musicians of quality able to play their part in the wonderful transfer of ideas into this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immaculate Conception, 27 Mar 2012
By 
J. Rowe "Satieklimt" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
Deceptive in it's simplicity this is a real collection of songs to be savoured and listened to in at least one listening. Yes a real attempt to construct an album where none of the songs out-stay their welcome and most leave you, initially perhaps, wanting more. Not unreasonably you may expect more development which you would generally get with Shearwater's more baroque approach in their past work. But this time there appears to be a real effort to create an album where the songs sit more snugly together. But this album isn't by any means a cosy cup of tea by the fireside.It's a freewheeling dance of swallow songs high on the wing and pulling the listener over gorgeous snowy peaks of bright passion and self-belief rarely sinking into a sea of despondency or excessive navel gazing. It's strident. It's courageous. It's graceful. It's even melodic. And it occasionally really rocks. Like strange neon lit deep sea creatures many a beautiful moment starts to rise to the surface within each song making you want to listen again and again. Surely Shearwater's time has come!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Urgent, Intoxicating Masterpiece!, 28 Feb 2012
By 
Patrick Sykes "patrick11240" (nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
Shearwater have once again hit the heights with this magnificent new album. Urgent, pulsating, primal, passionate, uplifting, from the first to the last, this collection of songs wears its heart on its sleeve and hits you with a breathless intensity. Shearwater have moved forward with new confidence, bourn from the success of their last three albums (the Island Arc trilogy). Songs here, once again, build upon the band's key qualities - raw, plaintive piano, eager riffs, driving industrial percussion and Meiburg's haunting, hovering baritone. However, there is more of a rocky feel overall, and fewer quieter reflective moments.
`Animal Life' kicks off the album (with riffs which `The National' would be proud), a driving buoyant beast . Likewise `Breaking the yearlings' continues in a similar vein, with twangy guitar, handclaps merging into organ, like an indie rock Duran Duran on an experimental bent. `Dread Sovereign' slows us down, with chunky guitar and handclaps that melt into a sea of reverbed sound - a chance for a breath! `You as you were' with the band's signature piano tapping, builds up layers and momentum like an Indie Coldplay (I mean that in a good sense!)
`Immaculate' is as close as they get to a mainstream sound - a fast moving indie guitar and drum fest. `Pushing the River', with its underlying driving bass riff, driving drum rhythms, distant chanting background vocals and feedback driven guitar gliding on the wall of sound could sail on for ten minutes and you wouldn't get bored. One feels slightly cheated at under five minutes! If there's one addition some songs call for, it's a bit more self indulgence, a longer feast for the ears - they certainly have the ability to produce swirling, complex rhythms, riffs and yearning vocals in a dense atmosphere of sound to recall Talk Talk at their most creative.
`Animal Joy' is a joyous album from a band on top form enjoying the moment in the sun. Luckily for us this doesn't take them into the mainstream. They are far too good to take that route.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Took a chance..., 8 Jan 2014
This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
Just as the title says I took a blind man's gamble on this one and it paid off. This album has grown on me and now lives in the car. It's a start to finish listen which is rare these days, the tracks vary in tempo from easy to the ear to a more solid funky beat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2012 , a masterpiece, 18 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
In a dull and shallow musical world(with some exepitons like porcupine tree and opeth) it's great to be surprised with this modest texan band.JM's voice is Stunning and the music is drmatic and powerful.A combination of R.E.M,editors and radiohead.
My best of 2012 and one of the best i have heard in the last few years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shearwater - sheer joy!, 2 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
I first heard Breaking the Yearlings on a Magazine sampler then had a listen to the album online. I have moved on to the hard copy and would regard it as my album of the year for 2012. The opening track Animal Life is outstanding led by Jonathan Meiburg's superb voice, slightly reminiscent of Mark Hollis and Talk Talk (especially on Open Your Houses), gradually building the drama, a feature of a number of tracks on the album, although there is delicacy as well. There is clever use of percussion throughout the album and the lyrics are consistently evocative The track Immaculate has a riff that could easily find its way on to a Gaslight Anthem album although it comes to an end far too soon, which could also be said of Run the Banner Down with both tracks coming in at under 3 minutes. This is an album where you could find yourself hitting the repeat button on just about every track.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Indy Band, 28 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
After 10 years hard work an Album of musical excellence. I had the added benefit of seeing them live in 2012, they were very polished. One of the most underrated bands deserving of making it big.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More grit, same depth, 9 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
Jonathan Meiburg, lead singer and songwriter of the Austin TX based Shearwater promised something a little different from this release and whilst there is no radical sea shift evident, listeners of the band's previous albums will notice a more muscular approach with loud guitars and more prominent drums dominating. On previous releases there was a little more room to breathe with Meiburg's piano leading many songs and Thor Harris's excellent percussion always subtle and varied beneath an array of diverse instruments including Kimberley Burke's airy and melodic double bass. On Animal Joy there is less space in the music making for a more claustrophobic listening experience and meaning that intensity is created by louder distorted guitar rather than the array of instruments prevalent on the likes of the last album, The Golden Archipelago.

Comparisons with Spirit of Eden era Talk Talk (a millstone around the band's neck courtesy of lazy journalists for a few years now) can well and truly be put to bed with this release. Whereas previously the lengthy instrumental passages using diverse instruments could indeed be compared to Mark Hollis's band, on Animal Joy we have an altogether rougher sound, much more like a conventional rock band playing short, concise numbers interspersed with feedback and strong bass (Burke seems to have shelved the double bass in favour of bass guitar for most of the songs on this album).

One thing that hasn't changed is the quality Meiburg's compositions and the breadth of the band's ambitions. From the opening Animal Joy with its joyful, soaring melody and thunderous drums we are in safe hands and as the album develops tune after tune reveal themselves with You as You Were and the closing Star of the Age standing out as particular highlights.

Highly recommended for fans of melodic and bookish indie rock.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Scotish Elbow, 6 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Animal Joy (Audio CD)
Emotive rock straight from Elbow's stable. You get the feeling you have heard this before. Good. Great singer, good band, great song writing though the compositions feel like they have been set to a pattern. Leaves the whole feeling empty.
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Animal Joy
Animal Joy by Shearwater (Audio CD - 2012)
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