Animal Joy – Shearwater
It’s been a busy week, consisting of a couple job interviews and quite a bit of homework in my graduate classes, so I haven’t been able to get around to posting all that I’ve wanted to post. But I figured I’d make a quick post introducing my Album Of The Month segment. This series will consist exclusively of newly-released albums, and I’ll also be going by the official release date, not *ahem* when it was leaked to the internet.
My pick for February’s Album Of The Month is Animal Joy by Shearwater, officially released on the 14th of February. Shearwater is a band whose albums I’ve always admired more than actually enjoyed. Their earlier worked relied heavily on Talk Talk-esque atmospherics and mood pieces. While this reliance at times produced some fairly astounding results, listening to the albums as a whole was oftentimes a slightly dreary and restless experience. Not to get all Patrick Bateman, but with Animal Joy, I think they’ve really come into their own, both commercially and artistically. It’s the album I’ve always wanted them to make, and it hopefully signals more great work in future years to come.
Animal Joy is a much more streamlined album than any of the band’s previous works. Before, they would usually throw in a couple genuine “rock” songs, brief blasts of energy sandwiched in between slower compositions. Their newest album does away with the slower material almost entirely, giving more emphasis to punchy numbers and heightened bombast. The only potentially off-putting aspect for new listeners is lead singer Jonathan Meiberg’s voice, which bears comparisons to Scott Walker, Mark Hollis, and Antony Hegarty. His style initially feels a little too self-serious, but that trepidation should quickly fade away once the melodies kick into high gear. Even though there really isn’t much competition at this point, Shearwater’s latest is currently by 2012 album of the year, and it’s well worth giving it a try.
This is the second week in a row where I’ve looked at the week’s theatrical releases and decided that nothing really looked worthwhile. I do plan on reviewing a film that’s available through Video On Demand at some point this weekend though. And next week I’ll definitely be making the trip to see two new films: the Andrew Stanton-directed John Carter and the animated feature Chico & Rita. Until next time.
Full album stream: