Although they were linked in with that brief “new weird folk” movement of the noughties, Vetiver were always a much more straightforward concern than the likes of Devandra Barnhart. Their albums feature “nice” melodic folk songs which, at times, rock slightly, and so it is here on their seventh album, their debut on Loose Music here in the UK.
Up On High is mellow for the most part. An album to relax with as Andy Cabic’s slightly hushed voice wafts over lightly strummed guitars, the songs sweetly embellished with delicate washes of organ and pedal steel. There’s a sense of the past about it, not overtly nostalgic nor in tribute to anything in particular but the soft rock sounds of the likes of Bread along with the more harmonic psych pop bands of the sixties come to mind. This is most apparent on the title song which does kick off sounding as if it’s The Turtles prepping You Showed Me before Cabic veers off into a magnificent halting dreamlike confection. The closing moments here are just astounding.
There’s more of this blissful ennui on To Who Knows Where, another fluffy pillow of a song and on A Door Shuts Quick with its light footed guitar while Filigree (an apt title) ripples along with the freshness of a mountain stream. The good old Grateful Dead, circa ’72, are hinted at in the opening song, The Living End, while Swaying positively bursts with a sunburst jangled guitar exuberance. It’s unfortunate that there’s a slightly clumsy attempt at funk midway through the disc on Hold Tight as Cabic doesn’t have the vocal heft to carry this off but all is forgiven by the time the closing Lost (In Your Eyes) rolls along as it’s another dream like invocation to surrender to Cabic’s voice and the sumptuous playing.
Vetiver set off on a UK tour in December including shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow, all dates here.