You sit within the largest spherical arena in the known galaxy, surrounded by patrons of all sizes and species. The enveloping darkness is accentuated by camera flash sparkles, and blinking colored lights that canvass every surface of the venue. The ceiling above slides open, through which endless stars can be seen. The colored lights disappear, and a roar erupts from the crowd. The stage below fills with smoke, followed by the sound of a synthesizer . . .
Bless the songs that soar, the ones that propel listeners to a higher plane of existence, where troubles are given meaning or dissipate entirely. Electronic music seems to possess a stranglehold on this breed of music, but what happened to the rock anthems? Where’s our U2, our Queen? Jet Plane and Oxbow is the newest full-length from Austin-based band Shearwater, a group that eases my mind when it comes to these questions.
Front to back, this record is filled with epic rock tunes that would ignite the most massive arenas. Frontman Jonathan Meiburg’s voice is a compelling presence, one that guides the lush instrumental compositions through shout-out-loud choruses and tender ballads alike. Glistening, starry-eyed synths give the tracks immense depth, and, similar to U2’s The Unforgettable Fire, this collection of music feels colossally significant.
Onboard this time around is Red Kross drummer and seasoned music supervisor/film composer Brian Reitzell, who’s scored Lost In Translation, NBC’s “Hannibal”, Friday Night Lights, and more. Reitzell brings his collection of percussion, keyboards, and silver-screen know-how to the party, and the music of Shearwater has never sounded this monumental. If you’re seeking soaring, folk-tinged arena rock, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)