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Golden Archipelago (Deluxe)

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 23, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

"The Golden Archipelago" is the third album in a triptych of mindblowingly beautiful, dense and ambitious excursions about man's impact on the natural world from Austin's SHEARWATER. This time singer/songwriter Jonathan Meiburg turns his attention to life on islands - a world of lushness and austerity, silence and sudden cataclysms. From rising sea levels to displaced populations, Meiburg travels from the Falklands to Madgascar, from the Bikini Atoll to the Tierra Del Fuego. The music matches the grandeur and melancholy of its subject matter. This is an ALBUM album. The first 10,000 CDs come packaged with a 50-page perfect-bound book of dossier of records, photos, regulations, and images on islands, displaced peoples, immigration records and more.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Meridian
  2. Black Eyes
  3. Landscape at Speed
  4. Hidden Lakes
  5. Corridors
  6. God Made Me
  7. Runners of the Sun
  8. Castaways
  9. An Insular Life
  10. Uniforms
  11. Missing Islands


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 23, 2010)
  • Deluxe Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B0030E5NN2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,398 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. C. Casey on February 17, 2010
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Musically, Shearwater has taken a leap forward with this album. Mostly up-tempo tracks (very unusual for the group) with dense, rhythmic instrumentation, it's obvious that the theme behind the album has charged the band full of a potent and exciting energy. As someone who's only in it for the songs, without the benefit of the enormous informative booklet sold with the CD version, I feel like I might be missing an integral part of the experience, however, as the lyrics do not quite seem up to par.

Their previous albums contain lyrics that conjure haunting images or clear stories. The song "Rooks" is a master class in doomsday lyricism, and "Leviathan, Bound", while abstract, features the powerful statement "You are racing, alone" to anchor the song. The same is true with phenomenal tunes like "Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five" and the apocalyptic images of "Red Sea, Black Sea". The Golden Archipelago, on the other hand, seems to get lost in vague phrases that almost betray the power of the music and Jonathan Meiburg's incredible voice. For example, the fury of "Corridors" is similar to that of their previous track, "Century Eyes", but without the fascinating openly interpretable but evocative lyrics featured in the latter song.

While it's possible that Meiburg et. al. got a bit lost in this island-hopping concept, the album still stands as a fantastic sonic journey from one of the most interesting bands out there right now (with, I might add, one of my personal favorite vocalists of all time -- From his manic howls to his mournful falsetto, Meiburg is vocally in top form here). I greatly look forward to a future combination of their new found orchestration and their older, more open lyrical masterpieces.
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Format: MP3 Music
First off, my review is for the vinyl release which came direct from Matador Records.

I've been a Shearwater fan since "Rook", and have gone back and listened to some of their earlier efforts after-the-fact. Their new album is generally more upbeat to the point where I could consider them to fall into an "Indie rock" genre. I think this is a fantastic new album and could certainly add to their fan-base.

The standout track for me is "Castaways". It hooks you as soon as the chorus kicks in and doesn't let go until the final note - one of those rare songs that you don't have to wait for it to grow on you (If I were running the Grammy's, I would be putting this song in the running for best song of the year). But, the rest of the tracks on the album are quite good, as well - as a cohesive whole, it's very satisfying and I can easily play it from beginning to end with no track skipping. That's quite an achievement.

Do I like it better than "Rook" and their earlier efforts? Yes, I do. Five stars, and a big thumbs up. Well done.
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Format: Audio CD
I have listened only a couple times to the cd, but it did not disappoint. The only defect I heard in Rook was too much falsetto. I like the falsetto, but it seemed to be the main singing style on every song. Still a great album.

This time it is tuned down a little. And the song writing is as strong as ever.

Those are my only comments so far.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have listened to this CD for three weeks now, having gotten accustomed to it and having experienced all the diversities ans subtleties of the album I can say Shearwater has certainly evolved into a more robust, genre-defining band compared to their previous efforts. People who like subtle soft rock fused with good melodies, tight bass and drums, epic, emotional and strong vocals with great choruses will find a good proposal here (think a bit of Marillion with small hints of Pink Floyd and a lot of new elements)...the production is great, all the instruments stand out perfectly but the vocal are the key element here, soulfulness is the the right description...great record to listen to while traveling. If anything described above is of interest to you, do yourself a favor and buy the CD...4 stars but I'm sure time and a few more listens will make me give it the fifth..
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