Shearwater Emerge From The Shadow Of Okkervil River+ Free MP3 Download


Initially an offshoot of the more well-known Okkervil River, Shearwater has since forged its own path. Flaunting woodsy orchestration and the angelic, wavering voice of Jonathan Meiburg, Shearwater play carefully crafted songs, evoking a cinematic, sweeping view of nature. Their most recent release, last year’s Golden Archipelago, won over listeners and critics with alternately gentle and noble caresses of piano embellishments and pulsing acoustic guitars.

The strength of Shearwater’s music lies in the build and development of each song.  While every tune contributes to the overall feel of the album, they all also feature an individually intricate scene.

Despite the obvious craftsmanship applied in the instrumental textures and the musical build in each song, Meiburg’s voice carries Shearwater through the stony valleys and overgrown mountains of the band’s baroque rock. Conveying themes through both a hushed, delicate tone strongly reminiscent of Scott Walker (not that one), and a beautifully strangled shout which soars over the band beneath him, Meiburg, both vocalist and wordsmith, fearlessly leads Shearwater’s grandiose quest.

This month will see the arrival of Shearwater’s first album following the “Island Arc” trilogy which encompassed Archipelago as well as both previous records Palo Santo and Rook. Christened Animal Joy, the forthcoming album pledges to diverge from the band’s past work.  As assured on Sub Pop’s website: “no strings or glockenspiels were touched during the making of this album.”


FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: Shearwater – “You As You Were”


Both “Breaking the Yearlings” and “You as You Were” (from Animal Joy) stand much more strongly as singles than anything in Shearwater’s catalog to date.  “Yearlings” stomps and tumbles through its three minutes with the wild joy of a beast tearing away underbrush, while “You As You Were” finds Meiburg shouting “I am leaving the life” over a rolling body of piano and drums and Steve Reich-tinged vibraphones—an influence seen in their earlier work as well.

NPR calls Shearwater’s live show a “sonic thrill ride,” and the Baltimore-based music blog Aural States notes that “Meiburg’s compositions are immaculately textured live.”

The lively and high-reaching music of Shearwater promises to make their February 19 show at the High Noon Saloon a night to remember.  Click here for tickets.

–Will Vander Ark


Related Content: Free MP3 Downloads From Shearwater: “Breaking The Yearlings” and “Castaways”

Click here to read an interview from Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg courtesy of our friends at Playground Misnomer

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