I admit it, I clicked on them because their avatar is strikingly beautiful. And when “On Death of the Waters” started, I was close to dismiss them as another Anthony copy. I didn’t expect such a dramatic soundtrack for this autumn, with all the pathos you would need, a voice that admittedly can sometimes verge on Anthony-esque heights but usually stays in the full timbre of a Neil Hannon or whoever else can carry off a very dramatic voice without sounding oversaturated. And the way that Shearwater interrupt their theatrical sounds with violent outbursts, shakes you not only up but leaves you speechless. No wonder they can work around all these highly emotional tunes without drifting into plain cheese, Shearwater are Okkervil River’s Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff (well, were, Sheff left to concentrate on Okkervil River and Meiburg left Okkervil for Shearwater). Given that the band has already released 5 albums, there is no wonder that their music is no hit and miss but very strong and thoroughly crafted (what is it that I recently stumble over bands that seem to be older than my…aw fuck, I can’t think of anything witty that is older than 10 years).
Anyway, I might make some people quite mad with that bold statement, but if I had to chose between Okkervil River and Shearwater, I would definitely opt for the latter. There is a longing in their music that suits the nearing autumn blues and I love their use of nearly intrusive noise to shake you up, like a cry of despair that can’t be held in.