Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago

Album Review by Chris Cusack | 03 Feb 2010
  • Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago
Album title: The Golden Archipelago
Artist: Shearwater
Label: Matador
Release date: 22 Feb

With six full albums as well as a litter of other smaller efforts now safely in the bag, Shearwater's ability to write consistently excellent, affecting modern folk is admirable. The Golden Archipelago is another powerfully disarming collection of alternating baritone and falsetto melancholy, only stumbling once with the mis-firing up-tempo number Corridors. Comprising members and former members of Texas' acclaimed Okkervil River, the band's original inception as an outlet for more down-beat compositions that didn't fit with that other band's repertoire still rings true. The music is unashamedly romantic and often mournful yet never slumps into plain glum. One potentially valid criticism of this latest release is that it continues the trend towards a more sterile, polished recording style started by 2008's Rook, lacking the warmth of previous yardstick Palo Santo. Yet, given the quality of tracks like the compelling Black Eyes and An Insular Life, that's a minor gripe. [Chris Cusack]


Playing Captain's Rest, Glasgow on 23 Feb.