Tight Knit

05.03.09

One can only presume the title of Vetiver’s fourth album refers to Andy Cabic’s preferred style of sweater, since Tight Knit is hardly a phrase you’d use to describe his band in either sound or practice. With a revolving group of musicians including fellow Californian beatnik Devendra Banhart working around him since their 2004 debut, Vetiver’s music has always been as loose and free-flowing as their membership, with a soft and gauzy quality that once again fills out their new album like the light in a blurry over-exposed photograph.

The influences aren’t as plain as they were on last year’s Thing Of The Past covers album of songs by the likes of Loudon Wainwright III and Thomas Van Zandt, but you can still make out certain figures through Vetiver’s hazy guitars and Cabic’s sibilant vocals; Gram Parsons on Sister for example, whilst Rolling Sea is essentially an Americana rewrite of The Waterboys’s Fisherman’s Blues.

For all the lyrics about setting out for fresh adventures in Through The Front Door and Another Reason To Go, it’s well-trodden folky terrain they traverse for the most part, although the latter track has an almost reggae footfall in its bassline and brass, and At Forest Edge is one of the most intriguing things they’ve done, with Cabic’s voice wrapped in echoing harmonies and ghostly guitars. As the album’s conclusion it provides an enticing glimpse of pastures new, but the ambling path they’ve taken so far has been beautiful enough. If Vetiver’s music ever suggests one thing it’s that there’s simply no rush. (8)