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Animal Joy [VINYL]
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1. Animal Life
2. Breaking the Yearlings
3. Dread Sovereign
4. You As You Were
7. Open Your Houses (Basilisk)
8. Run the Banner Down
9. Pushing the River
10. Believing Makes It Easy
11. Star of the Age
Top Customer Reviews
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.
`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!Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just happend to be in Fopp and this was playing. A great album, no weaknesses or filler tracks. A real hidden gem.Published 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
My first taste of Shearwater. Unusual vocals on an indie rock album that is like Midlake with a harder edge.Published on 4 May 2014 by Paul Pharoah
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. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2014 by sgtdb
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. Read morePublished on 18 Jan. 2013 by Alon Vexler
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... Read morePublished on 2 Jan. 2013 by Alasdair Taylor
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. Read morePublished on 28 Dec. 2012 by Mark