Austin's Shearwater debut on Matador with a completely refurbished edition of their critically acclaimed 2006 album. They re-recorded five of the eleven tracks and added new cover art, deluxe packaging in the form of a gatefold digipak inside an O-card, plus a bonus CD containing eight additional tracks, all for the price of one CD. The music is a soaring, vast, multi-instrumental song-cycle. The vocals and songwriting recall bands as diverse as Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry and late Talk Talk, but this is unabashedly rock music, anchored by Thor Harris's mighty Bonhamesque drums. "Almost impossibly majestic and beautiful" - #1 CD of 2006, Stephen Thompson, NPR.
Once a side project of the woefully underappreciated Okkervil River, Shearwater's Palo Santo staggered enough listeners upon its initial 2006 release that singer and bandleader Jonathan Meiburg re-recorded much of the album for this expanded edition. The band has created a far more vivid, upfront, intense aural experience in the re-make. "Nobody" is still a brittle, eerie whisper (like the title track) with a wafting haze behind the guitar and voice, and "Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five" sports a ringing piano behind Meiburg's voice and a horn chart that recalls Neutral Milk Hotel. The most staggering moments find Meiburg going off the rails, bellowing where he once sang warm, yearning high-arcsparticularly in the album's stark opening moments and during "Hail, Mary," with its rush of electric pianos and hard-vamping thwacks as the singer barks across the top. Now Meiburg and Will Sheff need to balance their time--and their electric pianos, guitars, banjos, glockenspiels, and assorted scrabbling sounds between their magnificent other band, Okkervil River, and this tremendous ensemble. --Andrew Bartlett