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The Golden Archipelago

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The idea of island life has its everlasting appeal; the quiet isolation from the frantic continental world slows to a meditative crawl. Shearwater began hinting at this slow-moving ethereal grind several albums ago and 2010’s The Golden Archipelago serves as the final act of a trilogy begun with 2006’s Palo Santo and further explored with 2008’s Rook that brings that concept of island inhabitation to musical fruition. “Meridian” begins things with the solemn pulse of Peter Gabriel’s most pastoral work. “Black Eyes” sends Jonathan Meiburg’s atmospheric vocals (think Mark Hollis in latter-day Talk Talk) into the lonely atmosphere. “Landscape At Speed” furthers that feeling of the human spirit hurdling towards an endless horizon as its piano chords hit the waves of rhythm and feedback. While the sound is heavily reliant on thick reverbs and electronically manipulated sounds, the overall vibe is a bucolic one where technology has yet to interrupt the day-to-day ramblings. This odd paradox doesn’t stop tunes such as “Hidden Lakes”, “Castaways”, “Runners of the Sun” and “Uniforms” from effectively rendering the feeling of tribal urgency (“Corridors”) and remote slumber.


Formed: 2000 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Originally conceived as a one-off collaboration between Okkervil River's Will Sheff and Kingfisher's Jonathan Meiburg, Shearwater continues the tradition of detailed, reflective songwriting set by classic artists like Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen and contemporary indie rock songwriters such as Bill Callahan and Will Oldham. The group began after Sheff and Meiburg had known each other for just a week, with the idea that the duo wanted to make an album called The Dissolving Room. The pair exchanged...
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The Golden Archipelago, Shearwater
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