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To Find Me Gone

Wednesday, May 24 2006
Some consider local ensemble Vetiver part of the "new folk underground" that includes Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and Faun Fables. Yes and no — while most of Vetiver's sound is a modern, very distinctive take on American and U.K. folk music, it's free of the sometimes arch quirkiness of the band's similarly inclined fellow travelers (i.e., "We can't sing on-key, it'll sound like we're 'selling-out.'") Mainstay Andy Cabic (formerly of Simple Machines) has a sweetly melodious, soft but expressive voice similar to (youthful, pre-1972) Paul Simon, his songs featuring either pensively winsome or seductively cyclic melodies exploring melancholia without being oppressive. Vetiver's approach is layered, almost orchestral, more Lambchop than Leadbelly — guitars (including that of part-time member Devendra Banhart) and cello drive the songs while flute, keyboards, vibes, and percussion embellish with subtle detail. While most of To Find Me Gone is low-key and, truth be told, a little mopey, there are times when Vetiver kicks up its heels — the lilting, droll "Idle Ties" will warm the heart of any fan of Donovan, Incredible String Band, or fairyland-era Marc Bolan. The snappy, Buck Owens/Everly Brothers twang of "Won't Be Me" and the psych-feedback storm of "Red Lantern Girls" also get the blood flowing. Set your disc-player on "shuffle play" and get yourself lost in Vetiver's real-world enchanted forest.

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Mark Keresman


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