If you've been a RFC reader for any length of time—or, let's be honest, just this past week—you know how we feel about Okkervil River and Shearwater. So when we learned that Shearwater's Jamie Meiburg had begun a collaboration with Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart... Well, let's just say we were a little excited. The first, self-titled release from Meiburg's and Stewart's project Blue Water White Death is due out October 12, and all indications point toward a perfect union of Shearwater's spacious grace and Xiu Xiu's forward-thinking experimentalism.
If “Song for the Greater Jihad” is any indication, then man, you guys, this record is going to be mind-blowing. From the first second, “Greater Jihad” fills the listener with a sense of vast, open space. The twinkling guitar echoes with claustrophobic tension, the kind that comes in a huge, dark room—there is something massive lurking just beneath the surface. Loud, jarring plucks on a cello or bass string resonate like the underwater sighs of a sunken ship, preventing the beautiful piece from ever becoming soothing. It’s telling that both the band and the debut record are named for a 1971 documentary about a foolhardy search for the Great White shark in Australia’s Dangerous Reef. This is music both intelligent and transporting—art-rock at its finest.