Rhythm & Views 


Shearwater vocalist and songwriter (and ornithologist) Jonathan Meiburg's voice is otherworldly--there is no better word for it.

His vibrato wavers on the edge of unsettling; his volume and key changes arrive suddenly, like a memory you thought you'd forgotten; he delivers terrifying and poetic lines with casual abandon. He sounds as if he's from another era, and it's not clear whether it's in the past or future. He sounds as if he's from another place--somewhere more mythical, at least, than Austin, Shearwater's home.

On Rook, Shearwater's fifth record, this strange displacement of time and space is everywhere, from the startling wall of noise that hits a minute and a half into "On the Death of the Waters," to the blend of filmic strings and plinking dulcimer on "Leviathan, Bound."

"Century Eyes" is a rock anthem for a postmodern pirate ship, and when Meiburg's voice gets so quiet that you can hear the effort it takes for him to sing that strongly in that small of a voice on "I Was A Cloud," the softness of the song becomes overpowering. On "The Snow Leopard," metal scraping sounds combine with droning electric guitars while Meiburg, with that incredible voice, wails ethereal "ooo-oo-oohs."

And then the man behind the mirror suddenly becomes visible: Like any great album, the subtleties on Rook are what make it mesmerizing. The careful dynamics between soft/loud and rough/smooth morph into headier dynamics between times and spaces, constructing Rook into an album you sink completely, entirely, totally into.

More by Annie Holub


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

We Made One-Fifth of a Lotería Deck For You

The Weekly List: 25 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation