Fellow Travelers (Sub Pop)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 29, 2013
ShearwaterFellow Travelers (Sub Pop)
"Sixty million years ago, this was the bottom of the ocean," writes Jonathan Meiburg of the lonely stretch of I-10 through West Texas. "Tonight, though, it's just the highway to El Paso." The liner notes for Shearwater's new covers LP, songs cribbed from tourmates ranging from St. Vincent ("Cheerleader") and Xiu Xiu ("I Luv the Valley Oh!") to Coldplay ("Hurts Like Heaven") and the Folk Implosion ("Natural One"), doubles as a road journal. The Austin sextet reinvents the songs behind the bandleader's intimidating vocal flourish, though few provide particular improvement over the originals. New single "A Wake for the Minotaur" burns behind Sharon Van Etten's vocals and Clinic's "Tomorrow" punches with Meiburg's articulate enunciation traded with Chris Flemmons', the UK quartet returning the homage in backing the Baptist Generals' "Fucked Up Life." Fellow Travelers: slightly different perspectives of the same road.