Shearwater – Fellow Travelers


Fellow Travelers is a heavy-on-the-feelings collection of covers from Austin’s Shearwater. It kicks things off with the beautiful, delicate piano prelude “Our Only Sun” (Jesca Hoop), lulling the listener into a false sense of cozy sadness, only to be shattered by the driving, distorted guitar stomp of “I Luv the Valley OH!!” (Xiu Xiu), where Jonathan Meiburg triumphantly belts out “I won’t rest until I forget about it/I won’t rest until I don’t care.” The tracks chosen for the record are pretty eclectic, including cuts from Coldplay, The Folk Implosion, The Baptist Generals, and Clinic. It’s a little bit overly melodramatic at times, but some stand-out tunes like the lively, late-period REM channeling “Cheerleader” (St. Vincent) and the gorgeous melody and soft tragedy of “Mary is Mary” (Wye Oak) are solid examples of taking songs that are already great and breathing some new life into them. The one original offering, “A Wake For the Minotaur,” featuring the lovely pipes of Sharon Van Etten, is a heartbreaking, poetic tearjerker that flows along solely on the reverb of a fingerpicked acoustic guitar. While the band might not be breaking any new ground, Fellow Travelers is a quality collection of covers that show just how much songs can change and grow. (Sub Pop, Matt Williams


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