What do you do when your best’s not good enough? If you’re Shearwater, the splinter project formed a few years back by Jonathan Meiberg and Will Sheff of Texan indie-folkies Okkervil River,
you make like it never happened, move to a bigger label, and take your published plans back to the drawing board. That’s the confusing story of ‘Palo Santo’. The album’s original 2006 release on US indie label Misra clearly undershot its makers’ expectations. Now partially re-recorded and expanded over two discs, ‘Palo Santo’ mk II is both magnificent and bewildering. Meandering piano and plucked banjo laments wind towards dramatic crescendos, songs fracture and split as if powered by dream logic. Looking for tunes to whistle to? Look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for the face of God, you might find it in here. Somewhere.