Pre-Screening: Vetiver

Album: Tight Knit
Artist: Vetiver
Label: Subpop
Due Out: February 17th

For an album cover this blue, Tight Knit is surprisingly bright. Vetiver's fourth full-length effort is full of energy, airy sounds and a happy demeanor, creating a relaxing and rewarding atmosphere. If you happen to enjoy where you are, and who you're there with, many tracks on this record can, and should, appeal to you. Similar to Wilco, it's a brand of alt-country that creates an atmosphere from the onset, and maintains it, wrapping the listener in what could be a simpler, easier way to look at life.

"Rolling Sea" gets the ball rolling, so to speak, setting a mood and tempo that brings to mind relaxation and springtime. This can be contributed to both the sound, and lead singer Andy Cabic's seemingly effortless approach to vocal expression. In the classic folk/alt-country tradition, Cabic, on this song and the record as a whole, seems to laze about his words, allowing them to sort of crawl out as each tune progresses, lethargically finding its way within the melody. This is not a criticism, but rather appreciation for his abilities as a singer to hone his voice to fit the genre, and the band's sound, so well.

To me, the most notable portion of this album spans from the second track, "Sister," up to the fifth, "Down from Above". Starting off lively, and pleasant, and ending that section with a refrain- the slow down to a crawl, and diminishing sound down to a whisper, it's a great selection that really speaks to the core of the record. We pick back up again, however, with "On the Other Side," as the swing and energy of the record comes back in full force, and continues into "More of This," a dead ringer for what happens when you mix The Strokes and M. Ward.

Coffee house jazz, and maybe even a bit of rock 'n' roll make an appearance here as well, fueling "Another Reason to Go". From there, Tight Knit cruises to a triumphant and subdued end, easing you out of the experience as subtly as possible. My thoughts on Tight Knit as a whole? It's the type of record which you can't have trouble listening to- it's relaxing charm and mood make it an easy listen, and one which you don't have to concentrate all that much on to fully absorb. I wouldn't call this a dose of Americana, but it's simple and straightforward, and a bit old-fashioned. Regardless, it's worth listening to. Similar artists can include Wilco, Grizzly Bear and M. Ward.

Rating: 5.0/10

Best Track: "Everyday" (available via Stereogum)

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