Shearwater “Castaways”

By One Track Mind on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009  |  4,153 views

Indie Rock

Shearwater “Castaways” Shearwater “Castaways”

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Back in 2001, Okkervil River‘s Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff decided they needed a second musical vehicle to showcase some of their slower, more textured compositions. Thus Shearwater was born, producing five critically revered LPs and a couple of EPs in a seven year span (and continuing on after Sheff’s departure).

On February 15th, Matador Records will release The Golden Archipelago, the band’s latest work and the concluding chapter of a triptych focused on humankind’s impact on the natural world (seriously). Such an undertaking may sound heady for an indie rock band from Austin, but Meiburg is a grad student in the area of ornithology (hence the band’s name, a reference to a species of long-winged seabird) and he approaches the pieces with the appropriate perspective of majesty and grandeur. As its title suggests, Archipelago focuses on island life and the special threats these habitats face; however, the music throughout communicates a sense of the beauty and isolation inherent to these places.

Although rooted in a fairly conventional song structure and finishing up at just past three minutes in length, “Castaways” carries an emotional resonance and sweeping sense of melody which make it feel far more epic in scope. The gymnastic vaults and tumbles of Meiburg’s voice may not be a treat for all listeners, but for those who can embrace his idiosyncratic performance, the rewards are great. Something Shearwater has always done well, and continue to excel at on “Castaways,” is creating (and allowing the listener to inhabit) a truly unique world of sound. There aren’t many bands today who come close to infringing on Shearwater’s style, as it is so distinctive and potent, especially when paired with the subject matter at hand.

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Rate It Here:  My ears, they bleed!Never againMehNot my thangOne listen is enoughGood, not greatWorth a listenPlaylist-worthyThis my jam!Songasm!!! (29 votes, average: 6.41 out of 10)

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Shane L. Says:

    I can’t get past the vocals. They’re awful.

  2. Kat Says:

    Oh god that comment made me lol. I have to agree. :\

  3. Gabe Says:

    You guys must have not heard of Shearwater before. They’re brilliant.

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