Matt’s Pick: Shearwater’s Animal Joy

Even on paper, Shearwater’s Animal Joy sounds incredible. For starters, group is an offshoot of the exceptionally talented group Okkervil River. This album is a perfect balance between crowd-pleasing, earworm hooks and vocals that sound more at home in a concert hall than in an arena stadium — both sides of this equation pack quite a punch. Lead singer Jonathan Meiburg hammers it home on tracks like “Insolence” and “You As You Were” and the riffs do the heavy lifting on tracks “Breaking the Yearlings” and “Immaculate.”

I’d be hard pressed to think of another album that’s out so far this year that has a wider potential fan base than this one. Anyone with even a passing enjoyment of what I’ll call “college rock” should find more than a few tracks to love all year and beyond.

Shearwater: “You As You Were” video