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Music  |  Reviews

Shearwater: The Golden Archipelago

[Matador]

February 22, 2010  |  9:00am
Shearwater: <em>The Golden Archipelago</em>

The soundtrack to your next chill-sesh

As if scoring a devastating movie scene in which the main character drives alone through the rain, pondering his weighty problems, Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg emotes in a velvety bellow while pianos clatter and echo, and guitars peek through the shadows, making for gorgeous, endlessly serious music. The Golden Archipelago, Shearwater’s sixth release, sticks with the plot.

But whereas the ethereal solemnity of its previous album, Rook, was manifest in memorable hooks, the 37-minute Archipelago meanders through its own foggy-graveyard atmospherics. The music is similarly beautiful, but uniformly so—the 11 songs bleed together in such a way that you’ll listen through twice before realizing the album began again. Archipelago is an argument against verse-chorus-verse structure, and a good one—a rewarding, slow-melting album for patient listeners.

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