ALBUM REVIEW: “Animal Joy” by Shearwater

February 15. 2012 | By Valerie C.

Animal Joy
[Sub Pop]

Shearwater’s Animal Joy, their eighth album and their first release under Sub Pop, finds the over a decade old band going back to a much more straightforward rock sound.

While the last few releases from Jonathan Meiburg and company have been on a more laid-back and often times hushed tempo, Animal Joy by contrast is a lot more spirited. Opening track “Animal Life” starts off slow with nothing more than guitar strums and Meiburg’s bewitching vocals that steadily build in both speed and melody and has the band rocking by the end. The piano-led and eventual drum-driven (courtesy of the gifted Thor Harris) crescendo of “You As You Are” is exhilarating. Definitely found myself singing along loudly to that one. (You can download the track for FREE below.)

To think, Shearwater was once just a “side project” for Meiburg. I for one am glad that he left Okkervil River to devote his attention (and talent) to Shearwater full-time, as most of my favorite Shearwater records have come out after his departure from his day job. Animal Joy is a “joyful” collection of new songs and in this age of overly produced, sonic hissed-out, auto-tuned to death, electro-fill-in-the-blank music that’s often times forced down our ear holes, plain old rock and roll can be a welcome respite.

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