At this stage we've got to assume that Juliet's "Parting is such sweet sorrow" is Andy Cabic's maxim. Almost every track on Tight Knit touches on the painful poignancy of leaving or being left, a notion he flirted with briefly on To Find Me Gone. The magic of Tight Knit is that Cabic's musings on the wandering minstrel's quandary manage to sound both intimate and universal at the same time, while its warm production succeeds in enveloping the listener entirely.
From the opening chords of "Rolling Sea," we are on that beach, by that campfire listening to Cabic's earnest invitation to share the sweet salt air. We are sent eddying into the waters by the first flow of drums, wishing we had more time to spend with friends and they had more time to spend with us. "Whenever we make plans, you tell me you're a busy man, that you go, but you really should stay," he croons, and we share his despondence at being jilted. We continue to empathize through the lulling bop of "Sister," as he implores a runaway sibling to return, "Come back, I'm the only one here."
The reflection on leaving and longing to remain lingers through the poppy, sun-drenched "Everyday" and "More of This," with Cabic now being the one to ramble on, foregoing friends and fun. There is less jubilation and more introspection on the melancholic adieu of "Through the Front Door," a gentle and subtle leave-taking that would make Glen Campbell proud. The brass backing of "Another Reason to Go" emphasizes Cabic's determination to depart, but the tenderness of his voice belies his conviction.
The conundrums of the wandering minstrel take a backseat on "Down from Above" and album closer "At Forest Edge," where Vetiver meander off into familiar pysch-folk territory. Everything gets a bit ethereal and otherworldly as Cabic goes into the woods pursuing visions of beautiful young girls, and the instrumentation steps to the fore.
Although Andy Cabic remains the only constant at the heart of Vetiver's ever-changing line-up, he seems to have struck gold with Kevin Barker and Sanders Trippe on guitars, Otto Hauser on drums and Brent Dunn on bass. Their unassuming contributions complement Cabic's delicate arrangement to make Tight Knit a subtle, intricate album that simply gets better with every listen. A bittersweet pleasure from beginning to end.
Vetiver's fourth full-length album sees Andy Cabic's ever-changing outfit return to recording original material, following 2006's cover album A Thing of the Past. Recorded at The Hangar in Sacramento and at Melva in Los Angeles, Sub Pop says, "Tight Knit unfolds like a road trip down Highway 1, towards Cabic’s home in San Francisco."
Cabic explains that some of the tracks have been knocking about since 2006's To Find Me Gone, "Several of the songs have been staples of Vetiver’s live show for some time in much the same form as they appear on this recording. Other songs were given a last polishing in the studio. And a few songs were radically reworked from the way they were performed on the road.” He continues, “There are songs here that allude to elements of everything I’ve done so far, and songs that have something which heretofore I maybe only hinted at.”
The album was produced by longtime collaborator Thom Monahan, who has also worked with Devendra Banhart, the Pernice Brothers and most recently Little Joy. It features Eric Johnson from Vetiver touring partners Fruit Bats and The Shins, along with Jonathan Wilson, Dave Sher and Adam Peters.
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