Label: Sub Pop Records
The beauty and force of nature is a sobering subject, but Shearwater mastered it in one fell swoop with this album. Following a gorgeous trilogy -- Palo Santo, Rook and The Golden Archipelago -- Animal Joy carries on this tradition at an even more intense pace. In keeping with the album's title, the band's instruments seem to manifest as carnal creatures: A piano purrs and pounds, strings groan and hiss, guitars pounce and squeal, drums thump and throb. Still, vocalist Jonathan Meiburg cuts through the chaos with that chilling falsetto, hollering cryptic lyrics like, "I am leaving the life!"