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Shearwater Message Board - View topic - pitchfork liked it,



Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
 pitchfork liked it, 
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Joined: 24 May 2004 17:48
Posts: 23
Location: Denver, Colorado
and we all know how important that is ...

http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-review ... eves.shtml
Jonathan Meiburg's work as an ornithology grad student is mentioned in almost every write-up of his band Shearwater, and by naming the group after a species of aquatic bird and by titling his previous album Winged Life, he brought that on himself. And like any good scientist-- especially any good biologist-- Meiburg is obsessed with the particulars of life and death as well as the precarious border between them.

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01 Feb 2005 02:15
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Joined: 15 Nov 2004 10:45
Posts: 7
Location: durham-chapel hill, nc
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A) I could never be effective as a music reviewer and B) unlike standard too-cool-intelligent-indie-scenesters, I actually respect Pitchfork for their commitment to independent music and relative diversity; but C) my respect for them affords me a little artillery for taking issue with their methodology. Among my chief complaints is their common practice of trying to pull off some sort of pretentious or heady review (which would be fine) with obviously limited commitment to the attention of the practice.

I thought the piece on "Thieves" was a frustrating kind of complimentary.

1) He takes the time to make a big deal out of the bird-and-science conceit as the band's liminal subtext, but fails to note the intricacy with which, for example, the album art unites the larger bird-and-science conceit to the EP's concept (within literally 30 seconds on Google, I discovered that the African Pygmy Falcon lives in the enormous nests constructed by other birds like the Sociable Weavers--they're thieves, get it?--and a host of other useful information for framing a pretentious review about a bird-and-science band), which could have better framed his review.

2) He decides to frame the EP (within the larger ain't-it-clever-science-Jonathan-conceit) as attending to "the particulars of life and death as well as the precarious border between them." Okay, I can see the case for the making--when an EP begins with "let the bombs fall" (which, I think, might have even been the title of the opening track at one time, though this exposes me to super-fan criticism) and ends with a funeral, it is probably safe to frame a discussion about the album in that way. But, then, what does he make of the EP's title? If the whole EP is framed in this way, what do we make of the non-life-and-death songs?

3) He gets close to coming up with a more useful heuristic when he reflects on the final track, noting that it "laments how much life is inescapably wasted." Wasted? Stolen? It strikes me that this would be an excellent place to reframe the EP within the "thieves" concept, recognizing that the songs about "the particulars of life and death as well as the precarious border between them" are actually participating in a larger construct that includes all things ephemeral and stolen: life and death, sure, but also fidelity, inheritance, passion, and excess.

The frustrating thing is that all of it is adumbrated in the cover art.

Okay, enough. None of this is to take away from the thoughtful and appropriately praising things he had to say about this excellent EP; he clearly both enjoyed and respected the work, as I imagine everyone will.

perry


01 Feb 2005 11:44
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02 Feb 2005 14:53

Joined: 15 Nov 2004 10:45
Posts: 7
Location: durham-chapel hill, nc
Post 
No haledixon, if that is your real name. I'm talking about unchecked aggression, here. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand; across this line you do not--also, haledixon, lame is not the preferred nomenclature--reviews are disabled, please.


04 Feb 2005 09:06
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it is pretty funny to read such a puffed up review, all the while the reviewer overlooks the most overt symbolism. and by puffed up i dont mean the album doesn't deserve to be thouroughly reviewed, we all know it whoops a horse's behind with a belt... but yeah, if you're gonna do a pretentious review, then do it right.

had i designed the cover album, i might have suggested giving the falcons some miniature ski masks and crowbars.


04 Feb 2005 13:49
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05 Feb 2005 10:09
Post 
I want Perry to be my boyfriend.


07 Feb 2005 21:58
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