Top positive review
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The Quality and the Exceptional Continues.
on 7 July 2012
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.