Shearwater, "The Golden Archipelago"

Album Review

Austin-based folk rock outfit Shearwater weaves lyrical themes of island life and exploration into its usual harmonic fare on "The Golden Archipelago," its final installment in a trilogy of environmental-based concept albums. Indeed, Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg's lofty vocals and soaring instrumentation inspire images of faraway shores and lagoons. Over gentle piano and xylophone on the song "Hidden Lake," Meiburg mysteriously croons about the "hidden life of the empire that sleeps in the frozen lakes," while the tranquil strings that rapidly transform into a manic jam session on "God Made Me" complement lyrics about a fast-approaching storm. Similarly, the sudden ascension from a piano-backed ballad to a larger-than-life clamor of strings on the track "Uniforms" demonstrates Shearwater's ability to transform the energy of a song on a dime. With its serene landscapes and beautiful imagery, listening to "The Golden Archipelago" makes waiting for the tropical temperatures of summer all the more difficult.