Release Date: Feb 17, 2015
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Bon Iver was never simply the work of Justin Vernon. While he may have been the mastermind behind the collective, For Emma Forever Ago and Bon Iver wouldn't be the truly unique albums they are if it wasn't for the help of some of Vernon's Wisconsin friends. Sean Carey is often seen as the number two man in Bon Iver, yet his velvet vocals and soft tinkling on the ivories are just as delicately beautiful, if not more so, when the singer/songwriter has the limelight shone only on him.
Bon Iver colleague Sean Carey released his sophomore LP, Range of Light, last spring, but his creative juices were still flowing; he took advantage of a single weekend to record some acoustic versions of past works. Featuring four redone tunes from his two LPs, a new track and a Radiohead cover, what could easily have been a self-indulgent, superfluous release is used to showcase a different side of Carey's soft folk, which finds the singer and composer focusing on specific elements, to much success. Supermoon is heartfelt and spiritual, and brings a new intimacy to the old tunes.
On his second EP and fourth solo release, Wisconsin's S. Carey continues to hike down the nature trail of deeply pastoral, indie chamber-folk. With influences that range from composer Steve Reich to naturalist John Muir, his music generally comes across as a sort of soothing balm that marries rustic imagery with classical-inspired sophistication. Containing gentle reimaginings of four songs from his first two LPs (2010's All We Grow and 2014's Range of Light), along with the newly composed title track and a cover of Radiohead's "Bullet Proof… I Wish I Was," the understated Supermoon rarely raises itself above a whisper.
“The idea was to strip the song down to its core and hear that way,” Sean Carey recently wrote on his blog in regards to his new Supermoon EP, which was impressively recorded entirely over the weekend of its namesake lunar event last August. With one new song and one cover, the other two-thirds of the EP consists of alternative versions of two tracks from S. Carey’s previous albums.
Although he must be sick of constantly being portrayed in the media as a figure who exists in the shadow of Justin Vernon, it is very important to the understanding and contextualisation of Sean Carey’s solo work that he is best known as a supporting member of Bon Iver. His two solo LPs, 2010’s All We Grow and last year’s Range of Light, are hushed, considered works whose successes are based on their Vernon-esque combination of subtle experimentation and earnest humility. His new EP, Supermoon, presents a collection of alternative versions of songs from these previous releases, along with one new song and one cover, of Radiohead’s gorgeous “Bulletproof…I Wish I Was” (another study in subtle beauty wrung from eclecticism).
As exciting as the term sounds, a supermoon is a fairly common occurrence, an illusion caused when a full or new moon happens to coincide with the moon’s closest approach to Earth. Basically, it means the moon looks a bit bigger than usual. While that might not seem significant to most people, it’s the type of phenomenon Sean Carey pays close attention to.