Storming Heaven with Shearwater

Total work paralysis today.

So I surf, and reluctantly come across reviews like this, a gross overestimation of Television’s Marquee Moon. Sure, it’s a good record, maybe even a landmark of sorts, but there’s also some tedious guitar-noodle wankery on there, along with ‘poetic’ lyrics, which are always a bad thing in rock and roll. Poems are poetic, and lyrics lyrical. And parting is all they should know of heaven.

Uncharacteristic of the great Morning News, to say the least. I guess you can’t hire all of your friends.

Shearwater is something I can like, but only if I boil their career thus far (3 Lps, one EP) down to one track from the Thieves EP and two tracks from A Winged Life, the overblogged “Whipping Boy” and this underblogged track:

Shearwater – A Hush

They’re an Okkervil River-related project, trucking the same emo-country highways as OR’s quality 2005 release Black Sheep Boy, mostly because both bands share Will Sheff. Sheff’s gone, reportedly, for the forthcoming Palo Santo, which is ok, since Shearwater bandmate Jonathan Meiburg scores most of the best moments for Shearwater. For the new platter, he rewrites the banjo-creepshow “Whipping Boy” as “Red Sea, Black Sea,” adding a pulsing synth and distorted vocals; it might work, I’m not sure, but I’m not yet ignoring the song, either. For the new “Seventy-four, Seventy-five,” he’s clearly channeling those cumulonimbus clouds too infrequently stormed by John Cale, and it’s about time someone mined those expanses, since Cale’s lost his mind thinking he can make hip hop. No joke.

“A Hush” is how it should be: simple but smart, lovely and little. That’s what makes for size.

6 thoughts on “Storming Heaven with Shearwater

  1. I hate to use the word, but yeah. Yet all genres have those who rise above &transcend. As a blogger who remembers when Death Cab was considered emo, even Weezer, then yeah, Okkervil&Wilco&etc are emo-country. Meaning country-leaning acts that get crazy emotive.

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  2. Maybe Sheff’s a dick because he was molested. That’s what Black Sheep Boy is about, no?Centro-matic – can’t slag him entirely, but I find it hard to commit. To me, Thee’s no there there, amid all the country pop harmony and etc. I think there was one song I liked somewhere.

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