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Palo Santo Extra tracks

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, April 10, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Amazon.com

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-arcs—particularly 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
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 10, 2007)
  • Expanded ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Extra tracks
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B000NQR842
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,812 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Gadbois on April 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I'll admit, when I heard that Shearwater was planning to not only remaster and rerelease "Palo Santo" as part of their new deal with Matador Records, but also re-record half of the album, I was apprehensive, to put it mildly. The original was an undeniable classic, unlike anything I've heard in a long time..."OK Computer" was probably the last record that affected me in a similar way.

But then I read comments from Jonathan Meiburg (composer and vocalist on all 11 tracks) stating their reasoning for revisiting the album, and it did make sense, given the dissatisfaction the band had with the original recordings, not to mention the apparent serious mastering problems. And now that I hear the new version, I know I'll probably never listen to the original again. The new recordings ("La Dame", "Red Sea", "Seventy Four", "Johnny Viola", and "Hail, Mary") are so much more powerful than their year-old counterparts, and the other 6 tracks take on a whole new dimension now that they've been properly mastered. The instrumentation is so much clearer and more spacious now...the songs breathe in a way they weren't allowed to before. For me, the most dramatic improvement comes in the form of Thor Harris' Bonham-esque drumming...the drum sound is HUGE now.

I loved this record before, but now it's well into my all-time favorites list. Do yourself a favor and pick up this record now!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Shearwaters new effort "Palo Santo" brings to mind the solitude and beauty of the best moments of Talk Talk ( Laughing Stock,Spirit of Eden)taking the listener on a musical journey that, with a dedicated ear, will find one returning repeatedly. Meiburg is developing his own unique vocal style that begs comparisons with Darren Richard of Pinetop Seven, Glen Richards of Augie March and Jeff Buckley.

In this day and age of pre packaged cookie cutter offerings it's fresh, invigoriating and stimulating to know that there are still artist who care about what matters, the music.

Shearwater are one of those unique few who matter.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Some might argue, but I believe it has been a while since there has been a band or artist that has successfully carried a special kind of deeper mystique. Neil Young carried a grand mystique with both his lyrics, and Shearwater and Johathan Meiburg do it in a similar big-picture way.

Shearwater's songs are often from the ether. They come out of it, they go back to it, and they are there for you to find should you go there yourself. The music on this album emerges, submerges, diverges... "Palo Santo" is a masterpiece of time and space. It can be measured as much by the quiet spaces as by the louder, more connected passages.

There are the polished songs, and then there are the primitive. The expanded edition of "Palo Santo" augments the greatness of the original album by showing a more intimate side of Shearwater in the bonus tracks on Sides Three and Four of the LP set; these songs are not necessarily warm, and might border on the austere... yet they maintain an intense sense of intimacy. The extra music is mostly stripped down to the bare minimum, and it is almost naked in places.

"Palo Santo" should be heard on vinyl, and the Matador edition is worth it. The artwork is beautiful, and the song sequencing is perfect for four album sides. The pressing I have is of excellent quality. I could do with a lyric sheet, but it's alright. I can get caught up enough in the music at times to not really worry that much about the words.

"Hail Mary" is perhaps the most dramatic and dynamic track, but all the songs have their merits. "Failed Queen" is a gorgeous acoustic number, as is "My Only Boy". "Johnny Viola" is a great slow-fire piano tune. Even as an expanded edition, the album has very few low points.

"Palo Santo" is a beautiful album for a quiet evening. Sit back and soak it in, it's a very worthy experience!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
'Palo Santo' vaulted Shearwater to the fore of my favorite contemporary recording artists. Its otherworldly sonics and strong musicality make it an endlessly interesting listen. The songs manage to combine catchy melodies with ambient noise and shadowy lo-fi recordings. The lyrics are marked by a curious, almost Biblical formality, but freely combine traditional-folk ideas (White Waves) with nuclear-age desolation and horror (Red Sea, Black Sea).

Kimberly Burke's bass is melodic and propulsive, the true rhythmic core of the songs. While Thor Harris's drumming is as powerful as his name indicates, it's also incredibly musical. (Thor adds many of the odd instruments like the Waterphone that add the atmospherics to the record as well.) Will Sheff's contributions, his last as a member of Shearwater, are purely instrumental, as are multi-instrumentalist Howard Draper's. But the core of each song is Jonathan Meiburg's tenor voice. He uses his upper range more often than Mark Hollis of Talk Talk (the most obvious comparison) did, and sings with the same sensitivity to inflection. Some compare him to Bon Iver, but where Justin Vernon's falsetto(?) is ragged, Meiburg's falsetto is cleaner and more assured.

All of this is well and good, but none of it explains why this album's every song means so much to me.
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