If the 54th Annual Grammy Awards taught the public anything, it is that Rock has now been hidden by every other genre in existence. That is why Animal Joy, the eighth album from Shearwater, brings a sound that has been missing from today’s mainstream music since the early 90s.
Although it is categorized as sub pop, I consider it indie rock. The deep vocals of lead singer Jonathan Meiburg suit well with the slow and low melodies of each song. In a way he whispers, as he rarely projects his voice to the fullest. But as well suited as the vocals are, that doesn’t prevent the album from sounding somewhat repetitive.
Though by themselves each song has an appealing melody, when put together without at least one fast paced song, all the album succeeds doing is putting the listener to sleep. One song that did managed to grab my attention fully is “You As You Were,” whose bridge is reminiscent of The Foo Fighter’s song, “Walk”. One characteristic that I must commend the band for is their use of various instruments, as shown in the album’s longest song “Insolence” which runs over six minutes.
The lyrics should also be recognized, both flowing well with the music and having meaning behind them. Had the album kept my interest, the words’ impact would probably have been more greatly felt.
I can easily picture one of these songs used in a dark indie film, but that is as far as I see it: as background music. Even though Shearwater filled most my criteria for what a good album should consist of, I was not able to connect with it.
Well done, Shearwater. Instead of giving the animal joy, you soothed it to sleep.