Release Date: Feb 17, 2009
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Vetiver frontman Andy Cabic sings like he’s half asleep. That’s a compliment: His crooning has an absentminded, otherworldly quality that’s perfectly lovely. The arrangements on Tight Knit, the band’s fourth studio album, are often similarly woozy, starting with the campfire country of opener ”Rolling Sea.” Just when the tunes are threatening to blur together, though, the band perks up with a sprightly British Invasion bounce or a limber bass groove.
Breezy, Banhart-less San Franciscan folk soarsFresh off of covers album More of the Past, Vetiver is back to playing Andy Cabic originals, which means even-keeled cuts of restrained, majestic psych-folk. Cabic sings with silver-throated vocals and in some ways his songs hang loose. In “On the Other Side,” Cabic admits he chooses to “do what comes naturally / No need to push or hurry / That just ain’t my speed.” Still, Tight Knit’s arrangements are rather tightly wound, with the album’s soothing vibe finely calibrated enough to excuse an outlying foray into languid funk (“Another Reason to Go”).
At this stage we've got to assume that Juliet's "Parting is such sweet sorrow" is Andy Cabic's maxim. Almost every track on Tight Knit touches on the painful poignancy of leaving or being left, a notion he flirted with briefly on To Find Me Gone. The magic of Tight Knit is that Cabic's musings on the wandering minstrel's quandary manage to sound both intimate and universal at the same time, while its warm production succeeds in enveloping the listener entirely.
Andy Cabic's Vetiver have never been as far out as some of their indie folk compatriots like Devendra Banhart, and they've never been as outside as some of their influences (as detailed on 2008's album of covers Thing of the Past) might lead you to believe. Instead, their gentle, almost classic rock smooth sound is something you could play for just about anyone and not have a single eyebrow raised in any degree of alarm. That being said, Tight Knit is the group's slickest, tightest record so far.
Vetiver frontman Andy Cabic has been warming up over the years, in a few different ways. For one, his band has been building towards its own, unique sound for a while now. Ever since their self-titled debut in 2004, which included the guitar work of Devendra Banhart, the band has been moving away from insular and mannered folk and toward a more accessible sound that meshes better with Cabic’s sun-drenched ‘70s influences.
Vetiver's Andy Cabic must be getting tired of Devendra Banhart, too. The pair met in university and initially walked together down the weirdo folk road with Joanna Newsom. Cabic was always closest to radio-friendliness, and Tight Knit is just another step in that direction. [rssbreak] It's a misstep, though.
For a group that’s only been releasing tunes for five years Vetiver sounds well worn and finely aged. It’s fitting then that their fourth full-length is titled Tight Knit – at this point in their career the band’s rich, polished craft sounds almost familial in its closeness. If Tight Knit, the band’s first album for Sub Pop, is a departure, it’s an unconventional one.