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Vetiver ‘The Errant Charm’ (Album Review)

Thursday, 16 June 2011 Written by Rob Sleigh
Vetiver ‘The Errant Charm’ (Album Review)

If you are able to imagine a much mellower and ever-so-slightly more cheerful Eels, then you are partway towards understanding what ‘The Errant Charm’, the latest album from US folk band Vetiver, may sound like. It is in fact the fifth offering from Vetiver – a project fronted by Devendra Banhart collaborator Andy Cabic, who was once a member of indie band The Raymond Brake before moving to San Francisco to form Vetiver.

ImageIntroductions aside, ‘The Errant Charm’ is a rewarding listen for anyone new to the group’s music or even those fortunate enough to have come across them at some point over the past seven years. The album has all the charm of any of America’s best-loved folk music with the added influence of more recent electronic acts. Album opener ‘It’s Beyond Me’, for instance, is a wonderfully spaced-out acoustic track that embraces the elements of a psychedelic folk band, yet with vague similarities to the likes of those French chill-out merchants Air. This is also somewhat true of the track ‘Can’t You Tell’, with its pulsating bassline and dancey, electronic groove.

If you’re wondering about the Eels reference then listen to the song ‘Worse for Wear’, which displays Cabic’s vocal style at its most laid-back and is hazily reminiscent of Mark Oliver Everett, the singer from the aforementioned piscine lo-fi rockers. The Californian influence on Vetiver’s music is evident on several of the tracks here, including ‘Hard to Break’, which could almost be a Beach Boys song from the ‘Pet Sounds’ era, while also giving off a certain impression of Mamas and the Papas-style psych-folk.

Pop-inspired new single ‘Wonder Why’ even has a slightly mellow-sounding punk quality to it, with a simple bassline that could have once been borrowed from The Ramones. This theme continues on ‘Ride Ride Ride’, with its T. Rex-like crunchy guitar intro and bluesy Beatles-esque influence. This is followed nicely by ‘Faint Praise’, an ultra-mellow chill-out number with a dreamy surf effect.

‘The Errant Charm’ is a folk album of sorts, yes, but please don’t expect another stomping, straight-out-of-the-olden-days style of music. This is first and foremost a pop album, but one that manages to awaken the senses with its mixture of hazy blues guitar and life-affirming folk rhythms. Vetiver could quite possibly be the folk band of the future, if there could ever be such a thing. Or maybe they’re just a group of people that make fascinating and thoroughly agreeable music. Either way, ‘The Errant Charm’ is definitely an album worth checking out.

Stereoboard Rating: 7/10

Vetiver ‘Wonder Why’

Vetiver UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue June 28th 2011 - Komedia, Brighton
Wed June 29th 2011 - XOYO, London
Fri July 1st 2011 - Mojo Liverpool, Liverpool
Sun July 3rd 2011 - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Tue July 5th 2011 - Band On The Wall, Manchester
Wed July 6th 2011 - The Glee Club , Nottingham

Click Here to Compare & Buy Vetiver Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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