Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago

Maybe it’s because I’m sick today.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been traveling for work the past couple days and have been sick while doing it.  Maybe it’s because I drove over 500 miles through the Iowa flatlands and southern Minnesota snow drifts.  Maybe it’s just because I’m happy to be home and laying in my own bed.  Whatever it may be, I have been hooked on the new Shearwater album this week.  It seems a fitting soundtrack to all those things.

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like the new album.  After my struggles with 2008’s Rook (I put it on my best albums of 2008 list but every time I go back to it I like it less and less), I was ready to give The Golden Archipelago a quick listen and move on.  But it has just fit my life this week.  It’s dark, it’s fragile and it soothes my aching head.

Jonathan Meiburg has put together another piece of art.  And that’s what Shearwater albums really are; they are fragile pieces of art and if you are too hard on them, they will fall apart.  His voice sounds like it comes from another time, but I’m not sure what time that would be.  Maybe a time of his own.  Somewhere in the past or maybe the future, but definitely not today.  It’s soft and whispery at times and loud and sprawling at other times…but it’s always dramatic. Not unlike co-founder and ex-member, Wil Sheff of Okkervil River, it’s a voice you are going to love or hate, depending on your mood at the time.

The Golden Archipelago, like Rook, is an album to be listened to in it’s entirety, so don’t judge it by the song I’ve listed below.  Do yourself a favor and listen to the whole album through at least once.