Shearwater
Animal Joy


4.0
excellent

Review

by robin EMERITUS
March 4th, 2012 | 58 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I wanna get close, I wanna get closer

From the top, then: Animal Joy starts with the sort of restless energy that would persuade us of anything. We talk of great songs with their rise and fall, but “Animal Life” is a race to the finish with no intelligent pacing, propelled ignorantly and wonderfully by all the things that sound boring to describe but exhilarating to behold. It has the simplest of guitar lines and the greatest of climaxes. Thick percussion cuts through the softness, the distortion of guitars gear up destructively, but only with as much respect for the song’s process as possible. “Animal Life” never strays from its melodic argument, not once does it get disorientating as we move forward, but most importantly, it all comes to us so easily. “Animal Life” is a song of insistence, a desire to be now for us, whatever that present is. The exhilaration that Animal Joy gives us in this moment speaks the joy found in listening to something and getting lost in its world instantly. It’s not for me to persuade you: quit your job to it or run through the countryside to it. You have to let “Animal Life” come close to you.

This non-journalistic nonsense is to say, obviously, that my love for Animal Joy is insanely young and comes from a place of ignorant bliss: I’ve had it in my life for not more than a few days, and my experience of Shearwater is none, if anything coveted only by a long debt I’ve stored in the music of sister band Okkervil River. If there was a reason for seeking Meiburg’s band out, it came like the last gasp moment in an aging phase in my musical life, worried that I was losing my connection with my favourite band, and more worried I’d feel emotionally ruined without them. I think now that Will Sheff’s absence from Animal Joy adds to the youthful exuberance I feel on my first listen of Shearwater, though, something that makes the neck-grabbing of this album even more shocking and exciting. Animal Joy clutches to you- you know, regardless of who you are (I’d say it universalises its shit, but that feels like a common cliché. It does, though)- and tells you to sort your life out on more than one occasion, the most shattering life-lesson coming on “Immaculate,” Shearwater rudely hurling their way towards your gut, chugging their guitars all flushed and manly and, I think I already said, holding you by your neck: “Johnny get a hold of your life!” I guess, in a way, the reviews of Animal Joy are right to compare Shearwater to Okkervil River’s weepy violence, if only to distinguish between the two: Sheff is resigned to this life of love, content to say woe is me a hundred times over in different poetic ways, but from my first listen of Meiburg’s song-writing, I see songs like “Animal Life” and “Open Your Houses” carrying themselves urgently, commands and all. There are cries to open up houses and sort lives out on Animal Joy. There is something to be done.

Moments like these pulled me to Shearwater the instant I heard them, and it’s easy to see where this immediate joy comes from: Animal Joy is an album built entirely on intentions, to fix and to chase, “surging at the blood’s parameter” as Meiburg would put it himself. Moving really, really, fast, even in its contemplative, sluggish moment; “Insolence” is a confusing, fragmented walk of life for this album, but it is nonetheless moving the album into the newly-tread. For me, Animal Joy works in commands and youth, two things I wonder if we fear in this generation of musicians; we are drawn to ambiguity and the long-haul, the ability to say an album will be where it is in ten years, to have an album relate to its great event rather than be it. To have an instant connection with something, that’s ignorance. Animal Joy is ignorance, beautiful and restless ignorance. But for its new fond feeling and its quick animal stride, it offers something that we can all be swept up in, and all from the moment “Animal Life” gets close.



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user ratings (82)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


4249 Comments


quick sentimental babble for my favourite thing of the year

Gyromania
March 4th 2012


15793 Comments


YES Robin. Very good review - I should be posting mine in the next couple-rew days.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2012


10211 Comments


Ooh! Is there a stream for this? I absolutely adored the Golden Archipelago.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


5793 Comments


i wish i liked cool music


klap
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2012


10460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

4.5 give me a breaaak. this is better than golden archipelago tho

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

robin
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


4249 Comments


how about fuck you and enjoy music instead of caring about that nonsense

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2012


10460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it gives me about 70% satisfaction

robin
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


4249 Comments


wish that i cared

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2012


7343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've not heard this in it's entirety yet, but what I have heard I've been pretty disappointed by tbh.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2012


10211 Comments


"this is better than golden archipelago tho"

If this is true, I definitely have to get on this.

Romulus
March 4th 2012


8437 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i haven't heard this whole thing yet either, but i knew i was gonna love it circa the two minute mark in 'animal life'

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2012


16151 Comments


Good but not as excellent as I had hoped

Digging: Alt-J - This Is All Yours

robin
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


4249 Comments


mannn. and i was ready to impulse 5 this too.

gaslightanthem
March 4th 2012


5209 Comments


don't think i've ever listened to this band but i'm under the impression i won't like them

Ponton
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


5793 Comments


smith we're still friends right

robin
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


4249 Comments


everyone on sputnik i love has forsaken me on this thread

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2012


10460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

3.5 means great robin c'mon i like this record

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2012


10211 Comments


The Golden Archipelago was great so I'll assume the same for this album. I aupport you, Robin! m/

Honestly, though, I did find this review a little too hard to read. I think it's because the album is so personal to you that it's a little hard for others to relate exactly, but that just means that I need to check this out already.

robin
Emeritus
March 4th 2012


4249 Comments


word

jimmykidd
March 4th 2012


529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome review. lovely album.



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