Amember of the California freak-folk collective that includes Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, Andy Cabic records with a wide-ranging supporting cast, including guitarist Kevin Barker and drummer Otto Hauser, as Vetiver, something of a SoCal neo-crunch analogue to Canada’s Broken Social Scene. While Banhart’s free-form songs too often devolve into cloying nonsense and Newsom sings like a goat that’s been fed fiberglass, Cabic’s take on progressive modern folk is ultimately far more accessible and straightforward. Produced by The Pernice Brothers’ Thom Manahan, Vetiver’s second album, To Find Me Gone, surrounds Cabic’s newly-confident songwriting in some open, boundless atmospherics that recall the best of South or Grandaddy. At the album’s worst, though, those same spacey structures recall the sonic bloat of Coldplay; tracks like “No One Word” and “I Know No Pardon” drag out their instrumental codas to lengths that nearly hit seven minutes. Were there a structural significance to these endings—the broader point of the album is about finding meaning in absence, but come on—it might prevent a bit too much of To Find Me Gone from sounding like the ambient music for a coffeehouse. Still, when the album truly commands attention, as on the bluesy “You May Be Blue” and the country-tinged “Won’t Be Me,” it’s a compelling, forward-thinking album that’s as likely to please fans of melodic indie-pop and roots-rock as it is fans of the current crop of folk troubadours.
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