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Thread: Album Club, February 2017: Shearwater - 'Rook'

  1. #1
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: Land of the Lilac Curtains, UK

    Posts: 243
    I'm Curator.

    Default Album Club, February 2017: Shearwater - 'Rook'

    The Album Club choice for February 2017 comes courtesy of Richard (lovejoy) with Shearwater's 'Rook'.

    Please listen to the album in it's entirety before you comment and/or vote.






    My second go at the Album Club and sticking with artists that begin with 'S' (let's see if I can keep that going). This is an album that might strike a chord with fans of Talk Talk (the band, not the communications company). The singer Jonathan Meiburg's voice eerily reminiscent of the haunting tones of Mark Hollis and some of the songs here could have easily been sessions from some of the later Talk Talk albums. Rooks is a varied affair however starting with a gentle piano and vocal intro before raising to an almighty rock crescendo before leading into to the title track 'Rooks' which steps more into rock/pop territory. Tempo is up and down from that point and the album never becomes laboured or boring. Anyone familiar with Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece will find track 4 more than a little familiar in the lyrics.

    Stand out tracks for me are Rooks, Home Life and The Snow Leopard but the whole album hangs together almost as a concept album.

    Spotify link here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3eM6iFsshHr3QnFn0jYCCQ
    Tidal link: https://listen.tidal.com/album/2274388

    Happy listening

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Bolton, Lancs

    Posts: 1,589
    I'm Mike.

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    A really good album, i wasn't sure if i'd like it as i was never a big talk talk fan, i liked most of the track except 1, track 6 Century Eyes, where the singing style changed to be more shouty. Overall an immensely enjoyable listen and a band i will continue to look out for and listen to more of in the future.


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  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 34,512
    I'm Grant.

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    gonna give this a listen. Not heard of them; or talk talk for that matter.
    Regards,
    Grant ....
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  4. #4
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 34,512
    I'm Grant.

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    Ok some good, some not so, but overall I would say I would listen to most of it again. Picks were first track(bar the short noisey bit) and last 3, especially the cranky South Col, which for some reason reminded me of once upon a time in the west. Snow leopard is very nice too. Interesting falsetto type voice that on occasion annoys but overall its good, and tuneful. nice nature feel to it.
    strong 6....maybe will get upgraded later.
    Regards,
    Grant ....
    Sometimes incompetence is useful. It helps you keep an open mind.
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  5. #5
    Join Date: Jun 2016

    Location: United Kingdom

    Posts: 16
    I'm PL.

    Thumbs down I tried, I really did....

    If nothing else this album made me realise that I don't know what I like anymore.

    Melodically all was no more than OK for me which would normally score a 5 - 6 or occasionally more. The voice, that voice, it really didn't work no matter how I tried. I listened to the whole album but that was it, no more

    I don't know what I like anymore, but I know that much

    Sorry, it scores a 3 for me, without the vocals (it'll never happen) maybe a 5.

    PL

  6. #6
    Join Date: May 2013

    Location: Milton Keynes

    Posts: 232
    I'm Martin.

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    Track one sounded interesting and I thought I may like this album.
    However as it went on I did not take to his voice. Century Eyes to me was loud and cluttered while South Col sounded like an impression of whale communication.
    Only a 5 - sorry.
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  7. #7
    Join Date: Jun 2010

    Location: Essex, United Kingdom

    Posts: 618
    I'm givingyouaprettygoodclue.

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    It’s been a couple of years since I listened to this. At each revisit I get a bit more from it. It was originally recommended to me by my brother-in-law who has more “alternative US” tastes than I do and we ended up going to see them on The Golden Archipelago tour.

    Back then I was initially uncertain about Rook. It seemed hard to point to its derivation - which is probably a good thing in terms of not being easily pigeonholed. The use of piano, brass, guitar and percussion (the drummer at the time was called Thor !) mean that they can bring things to a crescendo when they want to, but mostly the album has a feel of delicate beauty which I guess matches its ecological themes.

    I also like its ambition. There’s a “bigness” to it even in the quiet moments - you can tell something’s building up, for example from the beginning of On The Death Of The Waters - but without any bluster.

    I don’t think it’s great though…yet. Much as I like the combination of Jonathan Meiburg’s voice (think a blend of Mark Hollis, Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley) and piano, I find they make the album a bit samey overall. I think it’s me who needs to work on it more though, and that it’ll reward repeated listens over a few more years.

    The Snow Leopard is utterly fabulous and anyone passing this page should give it a go in a quiet moment. That secures this album a 6. I must mark it again next time I put it on.

    Thanks to Album Club for reminding me of it.

    Pete
    Last edited by Pete The Cat; 18-02-2017 at 14:03.
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  8. #8
    Join Date: Sep 2012

    Location: East Anglia UK

    Posts: 1,173
    I'm Marc.

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    What Pete said! Thanks for summarising my thoughts so succinctly!

    I too had heard this when it came out, quite like it, find it interesting, well made, richly textured etc. but also just cant bring myself to love it, bit samey and lacking some overall 'grab'

  9. #9
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Dagenham Essex

    Posts: 6,938
    I'm I'mteachingmarcotheartofpishanto.

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    Unusually for me I thought it was OK , sort of stripped back bare bones not over produced songs
    The singer voice was OK and did not grate on my ears , I have heard a lot worse
    Its a 6 from me

    Thanks for putting this up

    Would I buy it , sadly not
    Music , fills the gaps between silence !

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  10. #10
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Chippenahm, Wilts, UK

    Posts: 589
    I'm Richard.

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    Thanks to those who put the time in to listen. Always good to read honest reviews of what people thought of it and interesting that it was the vocals that polarised opinion most.

    For those interested, if you liked some of this album but thought it went too far one way or the other, the band's sound has progressed into more straight up rock territory over time, so if that's what you want then the last album Jetplane and Oxbow is worth a listen. If you like their more gentle side then stick with the earlier albums. The Golden Archipelago (the follow up album to this one) has some moments of real beauty on it, but overall is definitely more rocky than this one. The first album is not one I've ever managed to give much in the way of listening time so one for me to pick up on at some point.

    They're also worth catching live if you get the chance.
    Rich

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