Shearwater

Rook (Matador)

Texas Platters

Shearwater

Rook (Matador)

It's almost Homeric in scope, the story of Shearwater. After five years and three LPs, the Austinites came out to the rest of the world in 2006 on Misra with their accomplished fourth album, Palo Santo, which was then re-released last year in a deluxe edition by Matador Records. With that, it became clear that the band was fully and finally singer Jonathan Meiburg's, after years of collaboration with Okkervil River's Will Sheff. Rook, the now-trio's proper debut on the seminal New York indie, further distances Shearwater from its earlier alt.country/folk-pop leanings and embraces its recently garnered art-rock label. Indeed, Shearwater's enamored with its own sense of drama, and one need look no further than the album's title track. Meiburg imagines a feathered apocalypse, bird corpses piled and flaming on the side of the road, others menacing humans inside their homes. Not quite Hitchcock, but the emotional and creative swoops and dives are there, with Thor Harris' patient percussion, so scolding on squalling opener "On the Death of the Waters," keeping Meiburg's Icarus-like falsetto from flying too far out of reach. The entirety of Rook is garnished with theatrical winds, strings, and tinkling bells, instilling a sense of fragility while an undercurrent of menace lurks darkly like Scylla and Charybdis. In fact, Rook is an epic undertaking that plumbs the depths of the seas ("Leviathan, Bound") to the heavens themselves ("I Was a Cloud," "The Hunter's Star") for the sounds that make the stories sing.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Shearwater
Did Shearwater Cut the Best Protest Album of 2016?
Did Shearwater Cut the Best Protest Album of 2016?
Jonathan Meiburg calls out new America's scary monsters

Abby Johnston, Dec. 9, 2016

Texas Platters
Shearwater
Jet Plane and Oxbow (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, Feb. 12, 2016

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Bright Light Social Hour
Jude Vol. 1 (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 8, 2019

Texas Platters
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
The Whole Shebang (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Feb. 8, 2019

More by Melanie Haupt
Gluten-Free Wild Wood Bakehouse Shutters Guadalupe Location
Gluten-Free Wild Wood Bakehouse Shutters Guadalupe Location
Their second location, Wilder Wood, remains open on Seventh Street

Feb. 27, 2019

Top 10 Carby Treats
Top 10 Carby Treats
The ten best ways to indulge in a carbohydrate bomb by a bevy of talented local bakers and pastry chefs

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Shearwater

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle