Release Date: May 8, 2012
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
You might be one of those people who looked forward to Merriweather Post Pavillion as the blend of folk and ambient electronica that the world was waiting for. You might have ended up disappointed by a consistently overrated album that you kinda liked but ultimately found ever so slightly annoying, apart from My Girls which was pretty good. You might have taken solace in the reverb of Bon Iver.
One of the profound truths we learned from the post-Grammys Who Is Bonnie Bear? meme is that there's still a good deal of confusion about whether "Bon Iver" is a guy or a band. It's understandable: The Walden-esque tale of Justin Vernon's isolation while recording For Emma, Forever Ago is now the stuff of legend, but in the years since he's assembled a legion of quietly formidable collaborators who have helped flesh out the Bon Iver sound. Among them is former music student and fellow Wisconsinite Sean Carey.
Being a member of Bon Iver is equal amounts blessing and curse. The positives are obvious: success, fame, Grammys, critical acclaim oozing out your ass. But the biggest negative (particularly for everyone involved in the band not named Justin Vernon) is that any other music you make will be subject to constant Bon Iver comparisons, likely for the length of your career.
As the Bon Iver extended family grows, the genetic traits become more distinct. The blurred, electronic-tinged production that was a mere suggestion on For Emma, Forever Ago has since turned up as the beating heart to Bon Iver’s self-titled follow-up, the color in the cheeks on Gayngs’ neo-yacht rock, and the conflicted mental state of Poliça’s swirled R&B. Drummer/pianist Sean Carey, one of Justin Vernon’s earliest recruits and current band director for the now-massive Bon Iver touring lineup, probably has as much claim to this loose aesthetic as Vernon himself and Gayngs/Poliça producer Ryan Olson.
Composed in a style reminiscent of his work with Bon Iver, Sean Carey‘s EP release, Hoyas, explores his strengths as a professionally trained percussionist. Inimitable and tentative in its electronic musings, the EP is a collection of tracks best saved for a rainy day. “Two Angles” starts with promise, building anticipation with a succession of deliberate and pointed beats, but unfortunately the magnetism teeters out in the middle of the song; the guitar distortion that enters at the second minute is listless, and not purposefully so, as it aims for ambience but sounds instead like lackluster strumming.