In 2008, when Jonathan Meiburg left Okkervil River to focus exclusively on Shearwater, his bird-named band, and his ornithological career studying birds, you could see that Meiburg's other Okker Will Sheff had big plans in mind. (That they would include Roky Erikson, well... not as apparent.)
Now, Meiburg has completed his third full album of atmospheric, proggy pop-rock with Shearwater. During this late-night set celebrating the new The Golden Archipelago, Shearwater was ready to fly. Compositions such as "Hidden Lakes" are becoming familiar. The brass lends the band one of the subtlest, magnetic Latin vibes this side of Calexico.
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Despite a busy showcase schedule this SXSW, Meiburg remain capable of reaching angelic high notes, and he never let go his repertoire of passionate honks and wails. Shearwater songs are not as narrative as those recorded by the old outfit, but even with an industry-heavy crowd chatting and taking a breather as the conference wore on, the mostly majestic poetry and bursts of uptempo rock kept the chatter in check.