Up until 2009 Okkervil River and Shearwater went hand in hand. After that Jonathan Meiburg left Okkervil River to focus on Shearwater, a move that resulted in the album trilogy that is “Palo Santo”, “Rook” en “The Golden Archipelago”.
Their latest offspring is called “Animal Joy” and contrary to the wide gestures that they were known for, they seem to have gone for more of a no frills kinda vibe with conventional song structures, a poppier sound and some decent rocking to boot.
They still manage to whip up a grand sound but they get the job done with less, something that makes them more akin to Arcade Fire. I don’t have any favorites that stand out but that’s mainly because they keep the quality level high throughout the entire album. “Animal Joy” may take a couple of spins to sink in but once it gets its claws (see album cover) in, it won’t easily let go.