Shearwater / Golden Archipelago, The
Album: Golden Archipelago, The   Collection:General
Artist:Shearwater   Added:Mar 2010
Label:Matador Records  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2010-03-07 Pull Date: 2010-05-09
Week Ending: May 9 Apr 25 Apr 11 Mar 28 Mar 21 Mar 14
Airplays: 1 1 4 2 3 3

Recent Airplay
1. Mar 11, 2016: A Visit From Drum
Landscape At Speed
4. Apr 21, 2010: Lyric Ballads/Spider Rave
Landscape At Speed
2. Oct 05, 2010: Daydream Disaster
Runners Of The Sun
5. Apr 10, 2010: Music Cassrole
3. May 05, 2010: Sunshine ... In The Afternoon
Landscape At Speed, Black Eyes, Meridian

Album Review
Adam Pearson
Reviewed 2010-03-07
Intricate, delicate, orchestral, art rock. Shearwater started as an Okkervil River offshoot about a decade ago, but has developed into Jonathan Meiburg’s full time project, and in my opinion, has surpassed Okkervil in terms of artistic relevance. Meiburg’s voice is a heavenly flutter somewhere in between Mark Hollis and Jeff Buckley. Speaking of Hollis, Shearwater definitely attends the Talk Talk school of building spacious, pastoral, piano-driven soundscapes of beauty. The Golden Archipelago finds the band continuing to expand their grandiose sonic palette while incorporating their trademark images and motifs of natural beauty. It’s probably their most impenetrable release yet –11 dense, intricate, unusually-structured songs with no easy break – but it’s also a refinement of focus, as the band commits to a near-orchestra for pretty much every track. John Congleton helps with the production. I’ve been pushing hard (to no avail) to bring them on campus this year. No FCCs.

1. Opens with Bikinian island anthem chanting, spacious backing vocals, low piano chords, restrained, mellow, airy, an earthy folky guitar anchors the track. (3:37)
2. Guitar feedback, more ‘epic’ piano comes in, Meiburg’s voice is more commanding, orchestra-rock of sorts, kind of upbeat. (3:40)
*3. Tropical, hypnotic, tribal kettle pulse, great percussion, ominous banged piano chords, twangy post-rockishness in atmospheric guitars and strings, devolves into feedback. (4:34)
4. Soft, ringing opening, piano stutter step, monster hypnotic xylophone/tuned bell percussion track, low-end cello, gorgeous, almost classical outro/coda. (3:47)
5. More chaotic, runaway freight train, more abrasive; interesting use of organs and strings, overdriven distorted guitars. (2:47)
6. Strings saturate the atmosphere, soft acoustic guitar, bigger chord crunches comes in, lots of dynamic changes in this one. (4:23)
*7. A little bit straightforward in terms of percussion, tunefulness, a very nice string refrain. (2:53)
8. First single, though probably the weakest track, a bit too bombastic and Billy Joel for me – snare-driven and pop hooks abound. (3:17)
9. Slow start (20 secs near dead air), loungey rhythm, (3:10)
*10. Another slow ringing fade in (55 sec). Most stunning track, builds from a yearning, melodic piano refrain to a chilling, crashing crescendo that wins points for being just dissonant enough (Congleton?), woodblock percussion hammering for the outro. (3:50)
11. Peaceful, subtle, mysterious, mellow closer. (2:19)

Track Listing
1. Meridian   6. God Made Me
2. Black Eyes   7. Runners Of The Sun
3. Landscape At Speed   8. Castaways
4. Hidden Lakes   9. An Insular Life
5. Corridors   10. Uniforms
  11. Missing Islands