Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Sara Ayers
“This band was going to be a one-day recording project by Will and me back in 1999,” Jonathan Meiburg explained to the crowd at Club Helsinki about the origins of his band Shearwater. “So be careful making plans like that…”
The “Will” that he referred to is Okkervil River bandleader (and former Shearwater co-leader) Will Sheff, who opened the show with a 45-minute solo set of his own. The prospect of Sheff and Meiburg reuniting on stage for the first time in years was full of promise, but in the end, the anticipation was greater than the pay-off. The two teamed up for only one song during Sheff’s set – “Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine” from Shearwater’s 2004 album, “Winged Life.”
And it turned out, the evening wasn’t about reunions or looking backward, but rather a celebration of the new, more muscular approach that Shearwater has taken with their brand new album, “Animal Joy,” their debut for Sub Pop. And there was absolutely nothing disappointing about that.