Shearwater, a band hailing from Austin, Texas, have been making music since 1999. Now in 2010, it seems like they should stop and rethink their course. From start to finish, their newly released album The Golden Archipelago sounds like the music is being thrown in a taffy pull. Almost every song on the album is packed with dramatic piano buildups, predictable synths, fleeting sprinkles of dissonant guitar riffs and overuse of the booming bass drum. But most of all, it’s simply depressing.
It opens with a mellow, folky song called “Meridian,” which makes you think that they may be decent musicians, but again it takes more than good musicianship to make a good album. Even the albums artwork is predictable and a bit cheesy.
To Shearwaters credit, there is an initial catchiness to the songs, particularly “Landscape at Speed,” a very Radiohead-esque number that honestly grabs attention. But there are too many letdowns and one song can’t bring the album back to life by itself. Jonathan Meiburg’s voice is robust at times, but doesn’t weave itself well into the songs with his overly operatic approach.
If you’re a fan of The National, you’ll most likely find a song on this album to use as filler on your next burned CD, but you probably won’t be recommending this to friends. This album is a disappointment, and all in all just plain boring.