Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago
The first listen is slightly discouraging. Wailing vocals, ambiguous guitars and strings, and a rhythm section that sounds like it’s playing in a massive beer can. But two days after, you remember a hint of it, and want to hear it again. You return, and the apparent shoddiness turns out to be expression. From thereon, we’re done. A tumultuous, rooted, slightly abstract scenic view passed through what sounds like the passionate cries of a man on the crucifix, determined to embed the final statement and make it so. The whole album is a unit, but ‘Castaways’ and ‘Uniforms’ stand out as crippling forces of attention. BBC Music conclude well:
Replete with moments of jubilance and tranquillity, cataclysm and contemplation, it feels like the successful culmination of everything the band have been aiming towards over their career to date. An assured, often fascinating and eminently listenable set, it’s less an album, more a bona fide artefact.