Shearwater Shares New Single “Aqaba”
New Album “The Great Awakening” due 10th June on Polyborus
Shearwater has released “Aqaba,” the second single from The Great Awakening–the band’s seventh studio album and first in six years–due out June 10th via the band’s own Polyborus label in partnership with Secretly Distribution.
Eerie and gorgeous, “Aqaba” is the purest ballad Shearwater has ever recorded and features what might be the first-ever solo by a Guayanese toucan (a moment Jonathan Meiburg describes in his book A Most Remarkable Creature). The track arrives alongside a new video directed by Loma’s Emily Cross that continues the story glimpsed in her previous video for “Xenarthran.”
Meiburg explains: “‘Aqaba’, like the rest of The Great Awakening, is a song a younger version of me couldn’t have written, and the last one we recorded for the album. You could read it a few different ways, but to me it’s a love song, or a song about the experience of love—the thrilling, terrifying feeling that you’re being cracked like an egg.”
This sublime atmosphere engulfs the audience. A tender landscape, building on the ominous tones and resonating keys. Volatility emerges throughout the single, present in the cutting ambiance to the compelling vocal range from Shearwater. This tender ensemble captures beauty, intimacy, and above all affection. The audience will be left in awe whilst fixated on the journey of this release. A harrowing voyage destined to move you. One of the most powerful and expressive orchestrations you’ll embrace for some time. With minimalist instrumentation, the track focuses on the surging strings, the force of the keys looping throughout, and the articulate vocal harmonies.
Shearwater’s seventh studio album, produced by the band and Dan Duszynski (Loma), shows us where its wandering frontman has been. While the thundering songs of the band’s 2016 LP Jet Plane and Oxbow (Sub Pop) were filled with fears for what the United States was becoming under the previous presidential administration, Meiburg resolved to find a new approach for The Great Awakening. “I felt hopeless,” he admits. “And I didn’t want to make hopeless music.”
With Duszynski as a fellow performer and co-producer,the album evolved through the long months of 2020 and 2021, emerging as a meditation on hope amid hopelessness, and the freedoms to be found—or dreamed about—in isolation. Some Shearwater veterans returned, including keyboardist and arranger Emily Lee and drummer Josh Halpern, but the rock gestures of Jet Plane fell away: The Great Awakening is a soulful and immersive travelogue of grand atmospheres and intimate landscapes, decorated with field recordings from Meiburg’s journey while writing his critically acclaimed debut book, A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey, released in March 2021 by Knopf (its paperback edition arrived in stores last month). The non-fiction epic, which explores the lives and histories of the crow-like South American falcons called caracaras (social, curious, intelligent birds that have been mostly ignored by scientists), was ranked among NPR‘s “Books We Love of 2021” and received the prestigious literary Kirkus Star, in addition to earning praise by scientists, authors, and artists—including Margaret Atwood, Laurie Anderson, Scott Weidensaul, Charles Mann, and David Sibley.
The resultant 11-track album—anchored by Meiburg’s closely-recorded voice, more otherworldly and urgent than ever—is one that Shearwater’s been striving toward for years: a journey into the unknown, embracing sorrow and joy, beauty and terror.
The Great Awakening tracklist:
2. No Reason
4. Laguna Seca
5. Everyone You Touch
6. Empty Orchestra
10. There Goes The Sun
11. Wind Is Love