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Rook (Bonus Track Version)

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iTunes Review

The nautically themed “On The Death of the Waters” is a perfect example of Shearwater’s otherworldly ability to paint vivid imagery with their music. Its gentle beginning floats like a boat on the calm of the sea before a stormy wave of guitar wash comes crashing down on the bow midway through. Throughout Sherwater’s fifth studio album, Jonathan Meiburg’s alabaster smooth vocals sound as elegant as Jeff Buckley's and androgynous, like Antony Hegarty from Antony & The Johnsons. Much of Rook thrives on the use of more unconventional instruments like harp, glockenspiel, woodwinds, banjo, vibraphone, and hammer dulcimer, and the title track boasts an overdub of a backwards played piano. Conversely, “Century Eyes” moves with the kind of angular, guitar-driven indie rock that you’d expect to hear from the B-side of a crackling seven- inch vinyl. The two bonus tracks were pulled from Shearwater’s Snow Leopard EP. At just over two minutes “North Col” is the standout as Meiburg (a practicing ornithologist) muses on birds with banjo, acoustic bass and his epicene croons.

Customer Reviews

Please Make Yourself Proud

Purchase this record. Click play. Close your eyes. Let Jonathan Meiburg and his beautiful bandmates do all of the work. Allow his voice to fill some ailing void in your spirit; let him do the yawping when you feel unable. Certainly one of the best albums of the year, by far, "Rook" is the stand-out record for which we have all been waiting. While some may classify their works as "wintery" music, much of this record feels more like a summer breath of warmth than arctic chill, aided by Meiburg's vocals and a subdued, though sometimes thundering, rhythm section that picks up the melodies and carries them over and through a landscape that is not just unique in its vision, but panoramic in its scope as well. A rewarding and fulfilling listen all around. "The Snow Leopard" and "Century Eyes" are brilliant examples of these facts for those who need proof.

Album of the Year?

I recevied this on vinyl about a week ago after pre-ordering it from Matador Records. I could not download the MP3's from the site quick enough with the coupon that came enclosed. I have spent a good week with this release and I am able to say that this is my favorite album from Shearwater yet. Much more cohesive as a whole than Palo Alto, Rook takes all the elements of the aforementioned album and creates an amazing rock album clocking in at just about 35 minutes. Early stand-out tracks are "Rook", "Leviathan, Bound", "Century Eyes" and "Snow Leopard". Also be aware that you can grab the B-Side of the Rook 7" from the Amazon store for .99 cents. It is a great live cover of Talk Talk's "The Rainbow".

Give this album a chance...

At first, Meiburg's vocals turned me off. However, the more I listened to this album, the more I obsessed over it. Really, it's absolutely beautiful. Some of it sounds almost other-worldly. It's definitely very "different," but I promise you won't regret buying it.


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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