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Shearwater, ‘The Golden Archipelago’ (Matador)

With Jonathan Meiburg’s luxuriant, lachrymose croon topping the slow-cresting violins of this tasteful rock ensemble, The Golden Archipelago will surely satisfy listeners in need of a melodramatic nap. Anyone looking for waking thrills, though, will need to consult the album’s 72-page “dossier,” which nestles lyrics among documentation of the white race’s exploration, colonization, and eventual nuclear detonation of the South Pacific. The liner materials serve as tools to dig through the album’s surface-level sameness, revealing the stark awe and horror that Meiburg other­wise buries in his band’s ponderous bedrock.