http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2012/03/animal-joy-shearwater.html) Lucky for us the average views of posts have gone up considerably since.
Since Shearwater released another album, 'Fellow Travelers' and an album with demos which I now realise to have missed. With Jet Plane And Oxbow the band has made a record that is as colourful as the cover is.
Listening to Jet Plane And Oxbow for the first time I realised straight away that something special was going on. The album is so much alive, it's even danceable in a Talking Heads kind of way. 'Filaments' has the rhythm of 'Once In A Lifetime' in the most positive kind of ways, as it is so much more fluent, even fun. If I thought that 'Animal Joy' was the band's best album too date, then I have news for you.
Jonathan Meiburg seems to have shaken of all inhibitions in playing and recording his music. Shearwater goes full out on Jet Plane And Oxbow where reticence was often in place. Making music with an opened parachute against the wind on his back, holding him back. Nothing like that here. Not that all songs are fast or wild. No, far from, Maiburg's voice is like it always is: relaxed and serious. It is the exuberant instrumentation that does the trick. The piano playing all these beautiful notes and chords in 'Wildlife In America'. Not Roy Bittan at his best, 'Station To Station' with Bowie and 'The River' with Springsteen, but close. Perhaps because the piano is not all dominant. (Speaking of Bowie, 'Wildlife In America' somehow reminds me of 'Heroes'.) Next to the piano there is the dominant bass in different sections of the song.
In 'Radio Silence' Shearwater really lets it go and produces one of the highlights of Jet Plane And Oxbow. I will not call it punk rock, for that the colouring is between the lines in a neat and decent way, but I won't refrain from calling it Shearwater's version of punk rock. Coming to the chorus of "Disarray...I need it" and audiences can go all out in a moss pit and then that lovely piano cuts in, bringing sanity to madness.
It is easy to conclude with the comment that Shearwater has made a grand album, a fun album, but most importantly an extremely good album. Varied, layered, intensive, colourful. Jonathan Meiburg seems to be at the top of his game. The ornithologist musician has certainly done it with his latest album.
You can listen to a full stream of the album here:
or buy on Bol.Com