Shearwater, “Jet Plane and Oxbow”
Jet Plane and Oxbow
Each Shearwater album resembles a detailed stone carving. They can possess luminous and otherworldly attributes without sacrificing plenty of the endearingly rough edges associated with indie rock. The sonic trilogy of 2006’s Palo Santo, 2008’s Rook, and 2010’s The Golden Archipelago pushed frontman Jonathan Meiburg’s vocal styles and poignant lyrics to their extremes, so it was only natural that they went back to some form of a baseline for 2012’s Animal Joy. The building blocks for another strong Shearwater album is present on their ninth effort, Jet Plane and Oxbow, but they take more than a few tremulous steps towards cinematic electronic experimentation and away from the group’s usually earthy scope. The addition of film composer and percussionist Brian Reitzell (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, 30 Days of Night) certainly pushes both agendas. Jet Plane and Oxbow’s fist-raising peaks are sadly rare, but the craft of the production is still worthy of admiration.