Animal Joy

  • Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Feb 14, 2012

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
Buy On
  1. Mar 5, 2012
    For its new fond feeling and its quick animal stride, t offers something that we can all be swept up in, and all from the moment "Animal Life" gets close.
  2. Feb 14, 2012
    This album is just a few hairs (a couple of tracks and/or segues) short of being a transcendent gem, or masterpiece.
  3. Animal Joy represents a remarkable band in their prime of their career and is a stunning success on every level.
  4. Feb 14, 2012
    Animal Joy, in its hunt for instinctual performance, comes close to the classic album Shearwater surely has in it.
  5. Feb 24, 2012
    This album creates that space, where both that source of fear and joy are simultaneous, inevitable, and sublime.
  6. Feb 14, 2012
    Animal Joy provides not only a well-developed and unique aesthetic, but it offers a way in for a number of listening styles, a fact that should keep the album rewarding.
  7. Feb 10, 2012
    For all of the exploring, Shearwater is at their most affecting when they stay at home.
  8. Mojo
    Feb 27, 2012
    Animal Joy surfs similar channels to their last release, The Golden Archipelago, evoking stratospheric textures anchored down by melodically well-honed tunes. [Mar 2012, p.102]
  9. Feb 27, 2012
    Though harder, happier and a little more direct, Animal Joy is above all a Shearwater record: swooping, eloquent, concerned with nature.
  10. Feb 27, 2012
    A contender for their boldest LP yet.
  11. Feb 22, 2012
    As You As You Were already feels like a festival anthem in waiting. Stunningly good music.
  12. Feb 21, 2012
    It's unburdened by obligatory connections to what's come before and as a result, has a renewed amount of energy.
  13. Feb 14, 2012
    Dense, powerful, wild, yet immaculately rendered, Animal Joy blends the expansive, cinematic scope of contemporaries like Other Lives and the National with the arty drama of "San Jacinto"-era Peter Gabriel.
  14. Feb 13, 2012
    Meiburg and the group have swapped the muddy tranquillity that kept them muted and unheard for a daring dose of starry eyed wonderment that really should unleash the groups collective wings, enabling them to fly higher than ever before.
  15. Uncut
    Feb 3, 2012
    Meiburg's troubled tenor is abetted by sinewy arrangements full of the disquiet of that decade. [Mar 2012, p.95]
  16. Feb 16, 2012
    Animal Joy has a focus and progression.
  17. Mar 1, 2012
    The result is not a great leap forward but a stationary jump--with one foot forward, another backward, and a hard landing on both feet.
  18. Mar 1, 2012
    Although it lacks the conceptual cohesion and embroidered orchestration of their last three albums and has a few weak tracks, Animal Joy adds sentiment to intellect, an undefined rebellion to Shearwater's heady songwriting and thereby challenges that duality.
  19. 70
    The trio tosses musical Hail Mary's and nails it almost every time, producing a record that's life-affirming in its grandiosity.
  20. Feb 9, 2012
    Control and ambition can go together, and Meiburg proves that, in the right hands, the combination can yield some exciting results.
  21. Under The Radar
    Feb 3, 2012
    We're listening to a band shedding their heavy coat after a long winter and braving forward into a brighter spring. [#39, p.69]
  22. 70
    While it may lack the dense orchestrations and insular connotations of previous efforts, Animal Joy packs a powerful punch all of its own, typified by an artfully sequenced set of songs that capture the human condition with panache.
  23. Feb 3, 2012
    Taken as a whole, Animal Joy maintains the quality of Shearwater's earlier outings without quite taking things to the next level they're eminently capable of achieving.
  24. Feb 16, 2012
    Animal Joy proves they are still a naturalistically minded band, but in dropping the more arcane conceptual gambits of their self-described "trilogy" ... and speaking in layman's terms both emotionally and sonically, they're taking their best shot at meeting new listeners halfway.
  25. While there are plenty of fantastic moments to be found and the album is certainly recommendable, its sluggishly repetitive second half reminds the listener too often of exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of this band are.
  26. Mar 5, 2012
    Instead of a coherent collection of songs, Animal Joy feels like a series of very clever blueprints that, while admirable in form, are often (despite that title), rather bloodless.
  27. Feb 24, 2012
    It's aggressive, impressive, but never makes an emotional connection.
  28. Q Magazine
    Feb 22, 2012
    Touring with Coldplay have clearly done little to dim the scale of Meiburg's ambitions. [Mar 2012, p.112]
  29. 60
    It's not as unified as previous records, but with fewer meanders towards the mainstream and more of the electronic adventures of last year's freebie 'Shearwater Is Enron', Animal Joy may herald a bold new incarnation.
  30. Feb 14, 2012
    Animal Joy falters where it mistakes crude simplicity for reinvention.
  31. Feb 10, 2012
    A peculiar unwillingness to climax is something that many Shearwater records have suffered with over the years, and Animal Joy is unfortunately no exception.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Feb 18, 2012
    Two things have frequently been written about this album: it's more accessible than previous work and it probably represents a transition forTwo things have frequently been written about this album: it's more accessible than previous work and it probably represents a transition for this band. On the first, yes, it is most certainly more accessible, but I cannot bring myself to say this is a bad thing. Shearwater combines their ability for ethereal chords and vocals with the, yes, animal pulse of rock and electronic beats. It's a beautiful fusion that seems perfect for the album's title. And one can only hope this represents a transition. I absolutely loved their recently competed trilogy, but most high quality bands fail when they try to extend a single idea or sound too long. And for a possibly transitional album, "Animal Joy" is surprisingly cohesive and complete. Full Review »
  2. Apr 26, 2012
    Already the first track on the album, title "Animal Life" is enough just to get a picture of the entire release. CD is in fact a combinationAlready the first track on the album, title "Animal Life" is enough just to get a picture of the entire release. CD is in fact a combination of rock with different varieties of folk. The voice of Jonathan Meiburg has something compelling, the artist is able to fit perfectly in both experimental, indie rock compositions like "Breaking The Yearlings" and that more subdued "Dread Sovereign" or "You As You Were" (great xylophone parts ), where you can hear perfectly the depth of his vocals bringing to mind Editors. Very righteous piece of art - worth listening to. Full Review »
  3. Feb 26, 2012
    While the instrument roster is reduced, the tempos are generally faster, and the subject matter is about the inner life instead of the worldWhile the instrument roster is reduced, the tempos are generally faster, and the subject matter is about the inner life instead of the world at large, this is still very much a Shearwater record. You As You Were and Insolence are the two very different highlights of the record, but to my ears, there's not a bad track to be found.

    If you liked their previous work, odds are good you will like this. If you didn't, it's different enough to be worth a try.
    Full Review »