Fellow Travelers

  • Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Nov 25, 2013
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
Buy On
  1. Alternative Press
    Nov 20, 2013
    80
    It's wonderful stuff, partly because Shearwater's renditions are lovely enough to make you want to seek out the real things, and partly because, really, does anyone need another bloody cover? [Dec 2013, p.100]
  2. Nov 26, 2013
    70
    The album still has an intimate feel to it, like a missive to those other bands trudging the tour circuit, and it's an ambitious one that invites listeners to travel along.
  3. Nov 25, 2013
    70
    Only thanks to one another, it seems, they don’t burn out, dry up, fade away. Fellow Travelers pays tribute to these companions in many forms. That dedication, more than the music, may be its biggest accomplishment.
  4. Nov 25, 2013
    70
    Fellow Travelers makes the listener feel like they snuck in the back door of the club and are bearing witness to one of the coolest soundchecks ever, and while it may not be the follow-up that fans were envisioning, it certainly deserves a slot in every Shearwater enthusiast's collection.
  5. 70
    None of the tracks surpass the original (except probably Coldplay), but it doesn’t feel like the intention to ‘one-up’ other bands here. It’s an intimate, nostalgic affair for a small minority. For others, it’ll be less vital.
  6. Uncut
    Nov 20, 2013
    70
    Most convincing are versions of Xiu Xiu's thunderously anthemic "I Luv The Valley OH," Clinic's irrepressible "Tomorrow," and intimate wordiness of David Thomas Broughton's "Ambiguity." Coldplay's "Hurts Like Heaven," however cannot shake off its provenance. [Dec 2013, p.72]
  7. Q Magazine
    Jan 7, 2014
    60
    It's a curious detour rather than a sturdy follow-up to 2012's Animal Joy, but as a distillation of all those scattered flyers and setlists, it's a quietly touching piece of memorabilia. [Jan 2014, p.125]
  8. Mojo
    Dec 18, 2013
    60
    It's possible that it all makes rather more sense to the creators than it does to the listeners. [Jan 2014, p.102]
  9. Dec 5, 2013
    60
    Shearwater’s selection of covers is as diverse as their own discography.
  10. Dec 2, 2013
    60
    Despite lending his rich, soulful vocals to an eclectic collection of tracks, including versions of songs originally by Coldplay and Wye Oak, the streamlined, country-tinged production waters the songs down.
  11. Nov 26, 2013
    60
    Jonathan Meiburg’s weary, swooping baritone (he sings like a sentient cello) and the sighing cabin-folk that works so well for “A Wake for the Minotaur” (an original duet with tourmate Van Etten snuck in on a technicality) flattens out much of the album.
  12. Nov 25, 2013
    60
    Although this album is unlikely to change any existing opinion about a band whose left of centre sensibilities have always meant successfully evading wider acceptance, there is enough richness in the material here to merit far more than classing Fellow Travelers as a mere novelty.
  13. Nov 22, 2013
    60
    One hopes that the Austin band takes lessons from both the successes and failures of Fellow Travelers: taking risks here and there often pays off, but don’t mess with a vocal formula that works.
  14. 60
    Despite the overall melange approach being a little uneven, there are some genuine delights to be found within.
  15. Nov 20, 2013
    60
    Fellow Travellers is a missed opportunity for a great covers album, but as a shout-out to friends, it epitomises everything that’s endearing and admirable about Shearwater.
  16. Dec 9, 2013
    58
    This is the kind of music Shearwater plays best--the it gives the band the space they need. It is a damned shame most of Fellow Travelers opposes this idea, with songs that are defined too rigidly for the Texan reimaginists.
  17. Nov 27, 2013
    58
    Fellow Travelers can be seen as Shearwater showing their scratch work, and while great cover albums can be a revelation or an embarrassment, most end up right around here: which is to say, admirable and flawed.
  18. Nov 27, 2013
    50
    Fellow Travelers was never intended as more than a stopgap release between records; that said, it's hardly as essential as any of Shearwater's self-penned albums.
  19. Nov 27, 2013
    50
    The Austin sextet reinvents the songs behind the bandleader's intimidating vocal flourish, though few provide particular improvement over the originals.
  20. 50
    As a full-length record, Fellow Travelers includes too many songs that come off like that neutered high note as opposed to an original, undeniable, caterwauling scream.

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