6 ½ / 10
Shearwater’s 8th album hits a little harder than their last. I found The Golden Archipelago to be pretty boring, which makes Animal Joy all the more satisfying. The title is incredibly apropos; it sounds celebratory but not overly happy. It’s an album that radiates a primal feeling of strength. It’s disappointing because Shearwater can’t really pull this specific sound off, but it’s probably the best these guys have (or ever will) release.
Recommended tracks: “Animal Life”, “Breaking the Yearling”, “You as You Were”, Pushing the River”