The Salesman and the Shark

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Singer and songwriter Sean Rowe is possessed of a truly singular voice. On Magic, his Anti debut in 2011, it seemed to rumble straight up from the depths of the earth to shake the listener's ground. Though the stark guitar and voice production were a bit rigid, Rowe's songs, even when a tad clumsy, carried within them a singular vision of the natural world and an experiential poetry that was easily communicated to listeners through that powerful voice. The Salesman and the Shark stands in contrast to its predecessor. Produced by Woody Jackson, Rowe is backed by a band on most tracks, as well as various backing singers (who include Petra Haden and Isobel Campbell), and an ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Singer and songwriter Sean Rowe is possessed of a truly singular voice. On Magic, his Anti debut in 2011, it seemed to rumble straight up from the depths of the earth to shake the listener's ground. Though the stark guitar and voice production were a bit rigid, Rowe's songs, even when a tad clumsy, carried within them a singular vision of the natural world and an experiential poetry that was easily communicated to listeners through that powerful voice. The Salesman and the Shark stands in contrast to its predecessor. Produced by Woody Jackson, Rowe is backed by a band on most tracks, as well as various backing singers (who include Petra Haden and Isobel Campbell), and an occasional string section (Octetto Magnifico). The supporting cast is warranted; Rowe's grown immensely as a writer. His melodies are tighter, his lyrics and cadences sharper. Likewise, that voice, which seemed already perfect, is even more disciplined and expressive. Opener "Bring Back the Night" is a waltz ushered in by a halting electric guitar, a skeletal piano, and a simple bassline. Rowe gets through the first verse about broken love then delivers the killer couplet the tune turns on: "The jungle has built its own plans/And I was born obsolete, though I'm not an innocent man...." His voice digs inside those words as if they were from his marrow. A backing chorus joins him, sliding in from the margins and carrying it to the heavens as a prayer. On "Elsewhere," the band shimmers in the backdrop; they give his vocals free rein on top, bringing the tune's simple melody and weighty lyrics to the listener like a shot. Inara George duets on "The Wall," introduced by the strings with restrained dissonance. They create a sense off quiet drama before Rowe calms them as he begins to relate a broken love song; George plaintively answers him from the other side of the divide. "Horses" is one of two rock songs here with its driving organic percussion, hyperactive strings, and kinetic acoustic guitars. The other is "Downwind," which successfully employs surf music to further its ends. In terms of production there are a few songs here that rely too much on Tom Waits ("Joe's Cult") and Leonard Cohen ("The Lonely Maze"). That said, they don't feel like missteps because Rowe actually possesses the chops to deliver the songs, which are strong regardless. The Salesman and the Shark is head and shoulders above the work of most of Rowe's peers, and he possesses a strong identity as a songwriter, even if he doesn't feel confident completely relying on it yet.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/28/2012
  • Label: Anti
  • UPC: 045778718320
  • Catalog Number: 87183
  • Sales rank: 68,061

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Bring Back the Night (4:02)
  2. 2 Flying (4:42)
  3. 3 The Lonely Maze (3:04)
  4. 4 Joe's Cult (3:00)
  5. 5 Signs (4:30)
  6. 6 The Wall (4:25)
  7. 7 The Ballad of Buttermilk Falls (4:29)
  8. 8 Horses (4:36)
  9. 9 Old Shoes (5:10)
  10. 10 Downwind (4:14)
  11. 11 Thunderbird (3:24)
  12. 12 Long Way Home (3:27)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sean Rowe Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Vocals
Paul Cartwright Violin
Danny Frankel Drums
Petra Haden Background Vocals
Woody Jackson Guitar, Percussion, Clavinet, Bells, Timpani, Vibes, Upright Bass, Wurlitzer, Electric Harpsichord, Marxophone
Inara George Vocals
Daphne Chen Violin
Isobel Campbell Background Vocals
Rob Bochnik Guitar
Zac Rae Piano, farfisa organ, Dulcitone, Hammond B3
Chris Kyle Guitar, Electric Guitar
Markéta Irglová Piano, Vocals
Gus Seyffert Bass, Double Bass, Upright Bass
Ina Veli Violin
Sarah Pedinotti Organ, Piano, Background Vocals
Davey Chegwidden Percussion, Castanets, Bass Drums, Tambourine, Timpani
Chris Carey Organ, Bass, Drums, Electric Guitar, Hammond Organ
Reiko Nakano Violin
The Living Sisters Background Vocals
Mike Bolger Trombone, Trumpet
Cara May Gorman Background Vocals
Clinton Patterson Trumpet
Octetto Magnifico Strings
Jennavive Varga Violin
Technical Credits
Ron McMaster Mastering
Woody Jackson Producer
Sean Rowe Composer, Producer
Frank Moscowitz Whistle
Masa Tsuzuki Engineer
Geoff Gallegos String Arrangements, String Conductor
Brian Rosemeyer Engineer
Marius Bugge Cover Photo
Jon Jetter Engineer
Erika Burkowski Layout
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