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S. Carey - Hundred Acres (Album Review)

Monday, 26 February 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Cameron Wittig

With Bon Iver between albums, the band’s drummer, S. Carey, has found time to record his third solo album, ‘Hundred Acres’. He shouldn't have bothered.

The result is a drab Sunday gathering; a road trip with someone so boring that they make you want to crash the car. And, though the album is boosted by some elegant arrangements and the occasional fine melodic turn, it would probably make no difference if it had never been made.

The main reason for that is that the tonal softness into which Carey leans is basically a toothless version of Bon Iver’s original sound.

This may be intentional, coming from a label - Jagjaguwar - who are trying to define their own particular brand of breathy Nordic-American folk. But, ‘Hundred Acres’ is so devoid of personality that such business acumen actually seems cynical.

Despite that, there are actually some very fine moments. True North is a song of great wistful passion and skill, stretched out over rich strings and steel guitar, while title track is a detailed, fine piece of songwriting. This song builds around a delicately picked guitar pattern alongside the familiar vocal layering that immediately bring to mind Bon Iver’s signature sound.

But the main feeling of the album is so crushingly ‘meh’ that it’s very difficult to connect with it. Sometimes, when judging the basic quality of a record, the best thing is just to draw a direct comparison between it and a genre cousin.

Anything by Bon Iver is more innovative. Anything by Fleet Foxes has better melody writing. Anything by Father John Misty has got more guts. ‘Hundred Acres’ is a version of a version of something; a facsimile of a half forgotten memory of decent folk music.





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