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 The Golden Archipelago - your opinion? 
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Joined: 18 Feb 2010 22:21
Posts: 13
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
weleavefossils wrote:
Is it just me or does everyone who orders vinyl from Matador get bent corners? I feel they have no care when they package the records..<clip>....I'm curious to make my second listen to be the CD album format to see if I notice any difference in the sound. (which by the way, does the LP download come from the LP mastering or the CD mastering?)

Mine actually was in pretty good shape - no bent corners.

I had bought the vinyl because I took the assumption that the "Castaways" FLAC download was a preview of the CD master - and the levels are pretty high. I am also curious if anyone has both the CD and LP and can compare - if the sound is similar, I might buy the CD as well. I'm hoping that, if the CD levels are high, that there is a separate LP / CD master and that they kept the LP loudness at a sane level. I think they have, with my first pass. I can't tell where the MP3 encoding came from, but I have to assume that it's from the CD master. There's loads of clipping, which is not a good thing, :(

I also got the vinyl for the beautiful cover - album art like that deserves to be as large as possible.

19 Feb 2010 11:39

Joined: 08 Sep 2008 19:25
Posts: 201
Location: Geneseo
This came in today! I'm already on my second vinyl spin, and I have to say, this certainly is casting a better early-impression than Rook, which took me a while and 2 live shows to really 'understand'.
Beautiful packaging, too. :D


20 Feb 2010 17:37
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Joined: 09 Nov 2008 13:14
Posts: 157
Location: San Diego, CA
I bought the LP and will pick up the CD next week, but I won't be able to compare them for several more weeks...

21 Feb 2010 02:05
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Joined: 21 Feb 2010 08:24
Posts: 5
The songs I gravitated to the most were Black Eyes, Landscape At Speed, Corridors, Castaways, and God Made Me. I love the defiance in Black Eyes. Love how it went from piano to the heavy percussion! I just think the percussion in this album is great throughout -- it really gives a sense of movement and travel (especially on Landscape At Speed). I was listening to that song while driving at night through a mountain pass in the rain, and it was perfect!

21 Feb 2010 08:53
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010 00:41
Posts: 26
Location: arizona
It makes me wish I had a record player, embarrassingly enough; I swear I'm the one person on the internet who wouldn't realize they weren't pre-ordering a CD. So lo; coupon-enabled download it is for me, until I get to buying a CD or two proper -- I assume these are for sale at the shows, and I've already got Phoenix tickets sitting on the desk (and considering Tucson if I can get the time off) and I'm destitute enough and without decent record stores in the area enough to hold off for a month or two and save a bit on shipping.

But. The album, oh.

Despite falling in love with the singles upon first impact, it's taking me a while to get used to it as a whole -- honestly, it's the first Shearwater release I didn't instantly fall in love with on first hearing, but this means little to me; generally the harder to fall in with albums end up being the most precious. Also, I think I'm still on a Rook high, and it'll take me a few days to shake of the 'but it's nothing like that all!' thing.

Still, it's a very ... sweeping thing, something that's a lot more music and feeling than lyrics in many places, which is kind of a different thing for me as I've always been a word-type person (which is sort of entirely the reason why I got tangled up in Shearwater and OR in the first place). But -- it is. It's this thing that makes me want to lie down with the lights off and some good headphones and watch the world unfold there.

So far, I love Meridian, Castaways, Hidden Lakes and False Sentinels best -- it's all fabulous, but those have been the ones that are getting queued for multiple runs at a time. (Also niggling and unrelated but something I picked up immediately -- the Matador download has the track for False Sentinel listed as False Sentinal in both the id3 tag and the file itself. I ... don't think it should be so.)

JM's vocal softness is wonderful and dearly loved, but the from-the-chest power in Meridian in particular is almost like a command; you -- well, I -- hear it, and feel utterly capable of Great Things.

I'm ... not that fond of Corridors; it's lovely, but so was Century Eyes and I never quite grew to really love that one, either -- it's just a personal preference, that's all. I do love the lyrics, and -- shh, don't judge me -- there's this surge of quiet pride that this band I love is capable of going from one side of the musical spectrum to the other and being so fantastic at all of it.

Runners of the Sun -- that's the one that initially caught me when the preview video-thing came up for the first time; with only the opening bits, interspersed with bits of the other songs, I was a little 'oh hey, are they doing a coda for Rook down in a different key' followed by 'gosh, I bet that would sound pretty amazing' at the progression. I do enjoy the result, but I'm throwing that out there because I thought long and hard about it anyway.

Castaways is another of those power songs. They have struck at my secret weakness for Epic Drums and god, I am so easy. And there's that falsetto and the power voice. Definitely my most-played of the album, yet.

Uniforms ... I actually got the like-Pink-Floyd vibes here, because immediately after I wanted to run to Vera from The Wall and listen a few times. It might just be the lead up and then WHAM! intro, or the military imagery from the title alone, or a combination of the two (because I hadn't poked far enough into the mini-dossier for the lyrics yet), but it was a thought. And then it led into something a lot more, and all was right with the world.

...and that's a god-awful lot of TL;DR and gushing, sorry. Er, as a whole I am greatly impressed (which I doubt is terribly surprising, as I certainly wasn't) and I imagine it's going to become the newest love of my life soon enough. I cannot wait to see this action in person because I've only ever seen them live in video and from what I've seen they look to be an utterly fantastic live band as well.

Thank you, Shearwater, for a fantastic album and fantastic presence and giving me something new and beautiful to annoy (in a good way!) my music compatriots with. I'll be looking into a record player the next time I hit the second-hand shops.

23 Feb 2010 01:38
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Joined: 15 Dec 2005 12:23
Posts: 4
It's a really powerful album. Unlike the last two, it's not as big on songs that really stand out individually so much, though there's a few ("Hidden Lakes", "Black Eyes", "Meridian"). However, it all works together so beautifully. Amazing record.

24 Feb 2010 12:39

Joined: 09 Nov 2008 13:14
Posts: 157
Location: San Diego, CA
I finally got my hands on the CD a few days ago. I knew the album would be a little different from past SW stuff based on hearing the singles.

I've decided to listen to it as if it were my first exposure to SW so I don't allow my biases to shape my opinion. After a few listens, I like it, but I think I'll love it after it ages a while longer. Its one of those albums I believe...

01 Mar 2010 03:09
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Joined: 08 Feb 2006 22:10
Posts: 67
Location: Melbourne, Australia
For the last few days I've been kind of slowly falling in love with the album. It wasn't love at first sight, but now I can't listen to anyone else. The songs I seem attracted to initially are 'Castaways', 'An Insular Life' and 'Uniforms' (all in a row on the tracklisting) but I know that will change. Love it!

01 Mar 2010 04:16

Joined: 27 Nov 2008 07:52
Posts: 42
Location: Stratford upon Avon, England
Nowadays, we're so conditioned to soundbites, snippets of music here, there and everywhere that the art of the 'album' is lost.

So before it landed I adopted the mindset that TGA was a 'concept'. I couldn't listen to Black Eyes and Castaways in isolation as I didn't want those to be the immediately familiar and thus, stand-out songs.

I think if you approach TGA as one whole piece of music rather than a collection of connected songs then I think you'll find it a much more rewarding experience.

They are such an amazing live band, I'd love them to release a live album next.

01 Mar 2010 05:05

Joined: 01 Mar 2010 05:21
Posts: 6
Location: Germany - Lake of Konstanz
I am very inspired of the new record..
my favourite songs are

Black Eyes and Meridian

incredible beautiful
the tactful purring Cello (I think) in Meridian is brilliant
and in Black Eyes it's the lovely high-pressured piano I adore

I prefer the first half of the album
Landscape at speed and Hidden Lakes (also with the wonderful cello)..great!
Corridors for me is a break, this song earn its existence, the powerful energy gives a special atmosphere, won't miss it

in the second half I love Castaways at most, followed by Runners of the sun I think

but all in all the album is a very round thing, very good work :)

01 Mar 2010 06:15
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Joined: 04 Jun 2008 23:37
Posts: 54
Location: Seattle, WA
Something small: I can hear the ocean in the album.. e.g. drums in Castaways.


05 Mar 2010 14:27
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Joined: 01 Mar 2010 05:21
Posts: 6
Location: Germany - Lake of Konstanz
I became pictures in my head at Corridors
its a running animal, that will be hunted by a gepard, or something
running to survive..

06 Mar 2010 11:27
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Joined: 21 Feb 2010 08:24
Posts: 5
I am really enjoying An Insular Life. Love the helicopter sounds in the beginning. There's a sense of bittersweet acceptance to this song. They are going home from their journey, rising from their helicopter and leaving the islands behind. They know things will soon change and never be the same again. But the memories will remain. (Anyway, those are the feelings I get when listening to this. :))

15 Mar 2010 07:06

Joined: 14 Nov 2009 21:22
Posts: 3
I drove the 40 mins to work with Black Eyes playing really loudly on repeat yesterday - then had the most productive day ever.

16 Mar 2010 17:52

Joined: 24 Sep 2005 15:07
Posts: 27
Location: canada
Man...I completely forgot about the three "extra" songs...I just looked through the CD booklet and in my purse, and if I had a code to download them...I don't anymore. :(

This definitely would have solved my biggest complaint, which is that the album is too darn short. -sigh-

I will have to go about getting these other songs in a less above-board way.

21 Mar 2010 11:11
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