Rook | Matador
By ZETH LUNDY  |  June 24, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
When the winds change in Rook, the fifth album from Shearwater, Jonathan Meiburg’s voice plummets from a heavenly coo to a throaty bluster slathered in slapback echo. He’s navigating the temporal flux of his band’s Southern Gothic baroque pop — twinkles of hammered dulcimers and glockenspiels that give way to the thud of electric guitars and drums, the strings and woodwinds that stabilize the otherwise inclement subtext, the rising moons and setting suns and crashing waves. And birds — oh God, the birds. (Meiburg, a noted birdwatcher, fills his lyrics with ornithological omens and motifs.) To fans of the Austin band, this is all par for the beautiful but eerie course. Rook is flush with the hallmarks of Shearwater’s style, from high-wire drama to near-hymnal stillness. Although its songs aren’t as uniformly good as those on 2006’s Palo Santo, its command of atmosphere is masterful, from the undulations of the seven-minute “Home Life” to the taut swamp rock of “Century Eyes.” On “The Snow Leopard,” the band find that hair-raising middle ground where introspection leads to commotion, and a song becomes a little tempest.
Related: Various Artists | Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010, Iggy & The Stooges | Raw Power (Legacy Edition), The Major Labels, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Zeth Lundy
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BROWN BIRD | FITS OF REASON  |  March 18, 2013
    Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
  •   NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | PUSH THE SKY AWAY  |  February 20, 2013
    Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
  •   SCOTT WALKER | BISH BOSCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
    Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
  •   R.E.M. | DOCUMENT [25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  September 19, 2012
    Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.

 See all articles by: ZETH LUNDY