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Animal Joy

25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 14, 2012
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$9.53 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Animal Joy + Rook + Fellow Travelers (LP+MP3)
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Editorial Reviews

Sub Pop is proud to present Shearwater's Animal Joy, our first album by the band and their eighth overall. Led by Jonathan Meiburg, and featuring drummer Thor Harris, and bassist Kimberly Burke, Shearwater has been a favorite at Sub Pop HQ for years. On Animal Joy, Meiburg ditches the expansive approach of his recent records particularly the epic trilogy of Palo Santo, Rook and The Golden Archipelago to create a record that seems shockingly direct, immediate and intensely personal. He's no stranger to lush, crafted recordings, but this one sounds like no prior Shearwater incarnation.


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 14, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B006MGC4EG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,301 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Constant Listener on February 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciators,

I am new to the world of Shearwater. As a virgin traveler of this musical landscape, if I had to choose one word to describe what I've been hearing I think it would be this:

Intense.

Big sound. Big ideas. Powerful high-register vocals and tightly wound, nature-themed lyrics such as:

"...chasing down an anodyne and half-reflected radiance to hide below the ancient barricade/in chambers like the rooms a swallow made/for an animal life..."

This kind of probing intelligence combines with thumping drums and throbbing guitar lines in the opening tracks "Animal Life" and "Breaking the Yearlings" to broadcast a kind of musical "barbaric yawp" from the top of Mt. Shearwater, and I couldn't help but move to the edge of my seat and take notice. "Dread Sovereign" pulls back on the reins for a more reflective mood, but the galloping-down-the-mountain tempo returns with "You As You Were" and "Immaculate." And whether the band sets the pace fast, slow, or somewhere in between, the intensity never seems to falter.

This is legendary-sounding indie rock that tries to put its finger on man's ancient pulse in the natural world. This kind of music commands attention.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert P. Inverarity VINE VOICE on February 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
tl;dr summary: Animal Joy is an energetic record that doesn't lose the depth and quality of the last three. Shearwater fans are almost certain to love it, and people who were turned off in the past should give it a try. Sure to be one of my albums of the year.

I've been a Shearwater fan since they released the incredible Palo Santo (Bonus CD) (Exp) (Dig) in 2007. I loved 2008's Rook and 2010's The Golden Archipelago equally. They're frequently treated as a trilogy, but I've always thought that overblown. They differ in subject matter, instrumentation, even lyrical style. Palo Santo lyrics seem almost Shakespearean or King James Biblical, Rook sounds like the Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales, Golden Archipelago like poetry from a war front.

They do share qualities: high stakes in the subject matter, images drawn from the natural world, an unapologetically dramatic bent to the performances (but fully appropriate to the songs), excellent musicianship, dense and rich soundscapes, and the unearthly voice of Jonathan Meiburg. Despite these common qualities, some people who liked Palo Santo were put off by the conceptiness and remoteness of Rook and TGA. I can understand: many people want songs that can relate directly to their own lives.

Animal Joy succeeds at splitting the difference: it's an album about people, about love and betrayal and loss and overcoming grief. But it doesn't lose sight of the wider world or indulge in mopiness or excessive navelgazing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Usuallee on February 22, 2012
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I am new to Shearwater having discovered this album on mog. For the first few moments, I did not like the singer's voice. Since then I've become more and more enchanted with this album. After a few spins I came to amazon to purchase it.

The rich, dark yet melodic sound is almost tailor-made for my music tastes. This band's talent, skill, wit, and heart are readily apparent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Seward on July 13, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
... called out from the mouth of oblivion
Cast away like dogs from the shelter
I shed the dulling armor plates
That once collected radiance

And surging at the blood's perimeter
The half-remembered wild interior
Of an animal life

Listening to Animal Joy is so neatly summed up by the poetry on display in the first track that it's almost pointless to write a review. That won't help someone who hasn't absorbed the album yet, so I'll elaborate just a bit.

Once you learn Jonathan Meiburg's bizarre, melodic tones - an easily acquired taste, like good scotch - a realisation will set in: This album is art. It will fill your heart and, as you tease apart the stories being told, it will absorb your mind. It's the story of pain, learning, and the expansive thrill of living. Be open to understanding what you are experiencing - it may take some time to soak it up, but you'll be duly rewarded.

I'm not talking about a wade in the shallows
I'm not living there anymore
You could spend your life fighting the river
Or you could look me right in the eyes - but you have to decide
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By loce_the_wizard VINE VOICE on April 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jonathan Meiburg plays quite a few instuments on Shearwater's "Animal Joy," perhaps spendin a bit too much time trying his hand at so many varied ones, leaving drummer Thor Harris and bassist Kimberly Burke the job of putting some fire into some of the tracks.

Meiburg's vocals and penchant for mixing in odd effects and unexpected sounds works well for headphone listening, perhaps not quite as well for those times when one wants to twist the volume knob a bit more to the right.

The songs and lyrics are interesting, if not a bit artsy for artsy sake at times, but this crisply recorded set of songs offers enough tweaks and twists to keep it from languishing with those Decemberists' CDs I just cannot bring myself to break out.

All in all, "Animal Joy" proves solid throughout and has some transcendent moments. For me, this recording falls short of 5 stars, just on the cusp of 4 really. The CD packaging is my favorite so far in 2012, though.
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