Vetiver - Tight Knit
Record Label: Sub Pop Records
Release Date: February 17, 2009
Vetiver is a folk group led by singer/songwriter Andy Cabic, a longtime friend of Devendra Banhart. Tight Knit is their fourth album, and third of all-original material, with last years A Thing of the Past being an album of (mainly obscure) covers.
How Is It?
It's a very light, accessible folk album, opting for a more straight-ahead approach than the band's previous records. The same laid-back vibe is definitely here, perhaps even more so, but Tight Knit is a less right-brained affair, with each note sounding carefully measured, as if to provide the perfect soundtrack to a lazy Sunday. The gentle, aptly-titled opener "Rolling Sea" seems to carry with it the ebb-and-flow of the ocean, and though Cabic lays out his own heartache, singing "It's been such a long time," with a sense of bittersweet longing, the listeners' troubles are washed away with the tide.
Rarely does an album that's so delicate, with frequently reflective lyrics, nonetheless give off such a vibe of positivity. The song on the disc that will probably prove to be most memorable for many people is "Everyday," which has the air of a stereotypical TV commercial song, not unlike many of the songs on Bishop Allen's The Broken String. It would probably be misleading to call the song "bouncy" or "catchy," since I'd say it's a more suitable accompaniment to swaying in a hammock and enjoying the feel and smell of the Spring breeze than frolicking in a field of flowers, yet those descriptors seem most apropos.
Then again, it seems like Tight Knit may be that type of album where there is no consensus favorite track, since for me, it's "Through the Front Door," with it's intimate, ear-catching guitar line that's capable of sending almost anyone into a state of blissful reverie. No matter your favorite, it's hard to deny the appeal of any of the set's songs, from the gorgeous Fleet Foxes feel of "Down From Above," to the rhythmic melody of "On the Other Side," which bears similarities to Sky Blue Sky-era Wilco. For anyone put off by the almost complete void of anything uptempo thus far, there's the sunny 70's pop-tinged "More of This" and the uncharacteristically groovy "Another Reason to Go," which sounds more like the classic rock bands Atlanta Rhythm Section and Climax Blues Band than anything currently coming out of the indie-folk community, and they make for a welcome, if unexpected, change of pace. Vetiver save their artsiest for last, with the opus "At Forest Edge," on which the band sound more like kindred spirits like Banhart and their own earlier recordings.
Vetiver's first album to be released by Sub Pop, Tight Knit represents a slightly new direction for the band, adding some pop sensibility, while retaining traces of their mild freak-folk trappings. Opening up in a very restrained manner and following that mold for a bit, the album eventually proves to have something for everyone while remaining engaging throughout. With their fourth album, the band seem to have really hit their stride. On "Through the Front Door," Cabic sings that he "won't be back again." Here's to hoping that it's just talk.
Nice review! I was pretty surprised at how straightforward this album is and at first it turned me off a little because I was expecting something more freak-folk sounding, but it ended up growing on me a lot. I'd definitely recommend it, the subtleties come out more and more with each listen.