The Errant Charm (Sub Pop)
Immediately after sifting through the first strums of The Errant Charm, I caught myself succumbing to nostalgia. Triggered by singer Andy Cabic’s dazed vocals, reality faded into an afternoon counting clouds and lounging in the fields of some sort of Laura Ingalls Wilder-inspired wonderland. Funny thing is, I’ve never spent any substantial length of time in the countryside. But the most recent LP from the California folk-rock outfit Vetiver made it impossible to resist images of remote back roads and paint-chipped barns lifted straight from my grandmother’s Hallmark cards.
On its fifth release, Vetiver triggers an almost hypnotic reaction, tossing out the catchy choruses and four-minute songs from 2009’s Tight Knit. Swirling through a blissed-out mix of looping acoustic instruments and hazy vocals, The Errant Charm begins with the nearly seven-minute “It’s Beyond Me”; a few tracks in, “Can’t You Tell” tosses in a mix of refreshingly bouncing keyboards and “Right Away” picks up the pace with a drum-machine intro. But while the group has again succeeded in crafting a familiar and nice record, it at times becomes hard to distinguish where one track ends and another begins. For the most part, this continuity suits the album, but its deliberate laziness borders on forgettable.