Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago (3 stars)

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Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago

(Matador)

Texan indie outfit Shearwater don’t lack ambition, or for that matter, pretension. This album is the final instalment of a triptych of records about ‘environmental and personal decay and humans’ impact on nature’, apparently. How much it succeeds depends on how much you buy into songwriter Jonathan Meiburg’s melodramatic arrangements and occasionally histrionic vocals. There are gorgeous moments scattered around, like the sonorous folk of ‘God Made Me’, the tetchily anthemic ‘Black Eyes’ or the moody syncopation of ‘Landscape At Speed’, but the songwriting doesn’t always live up to the concept, despite plenty of skill and passion in the execution.

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