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Album Review
Errant Charm

Errant Charm
by Vetiver

Sub Pop

Review Date
20th September 2011
Reviewed by
Matthew Cattin

The Errant Charm’s crisp acoustic guitars and buoyant vocals whisk you away to the warm carefree days of summer, letting you believe that Vetiver have had a two year holiday since their last release Tight Knit. A livelier album than previous releases, The Errant Charm sees Vetiver steer slightly away from quiet folk ballads towards a bubblier, more poppy sound.

First track "It’s Beyond Me" opens with a resonating chimes which gently give way to unsettled guitar chords. The kick drum enters like a steady heart beat before Andy Cabic’s warm vocal delivery drops you into a breezy day dream. The lyrics explore the ever-changing rules of love and humanity as seen by a passer-by, drifting through crowded cityscapes. Constant whirring tones in the background layers of the mix sound like a droning highway from afar and before long you become lost in a desert of thought before the track fades out as softly as it began.

"Wonder Why", the standout track on the album begins with a bright guitar riff reminiscent of The La’s feel good hit "There She Goes". “Can’t live on what’s given. When is this old world gonna treat me right?” sings a tired Cabic with lyrics that would fit in a blues track. Although Vetiver are well versed in chilled alt-folk, this song proves that they perhaps have aspirations to shed that skin in favour of an up-tempo, electric guitar driven sound, which definitely isn’t a bad thing.

"Fog Emotion" takes totally new direction comprising exotic Copacabana percussion and twangy electric chords. It stirs images of sun-splashed days sipping pina coladas at a hotel pool. Totally different once again is Ride ride ride a bluesy thumper with walk-down basslines and rolling drums. In the hands of a gravelly-voiced vocalist, it has the grit to be a true bluegrass hit. The album winds back down for the closing two tracks Faint praise and Soft Glass which have a more typical Vetiver sound, the latter however sounding eerily similar to The Shins.

Vetiver, not being ones to make dramatic progressions in their style, have sounded somewhat similar since their debut in 2004. The Errant Charm, although not their best work to date, has pushed a few boundaries and seen the band break free (if only temporarily) of their comfortable niche.


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