Vetiver – Tight Knit

Plain fare from once mighty freak-folk magus

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Andy Cabic seems to have run out of road. On Vetiver’s first two albums he conjured up something akin to the output of his sometime sidekick Devendra Banhart: a patchouli-scented Americana full of chiming acoustic guitars, fiddle, banjo and the clink of finger cymbals.

A third album of cover versions was a holding operation – but holding only for this pedestrian lo-fi set. There are echoes of the old magic – “Down From Above” has cascades of spangling acoustics and a dreamy, socially sculpted atmosphere it shares with “At Forest Edge”. Otherwise it’s a trudge from one ordinary rock to the next – “Lying next to me/How happy we would be” (‘Everyday’) is a mundanity one would not expect. Cabic’s limited vocal powers are part of the problem. His dusty delivery is allusive when wrapped in instrumental swirls – asked to front up a song, it sounds merely flat.

NEIL SPENCER

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