Andy Cabic’s musical being is, like many curious 21st century musicians, shaped and sustained by divergent tangents. If he’s not crafting a melancholy folk-rock diamond in his Northern California studio, he’s moving a dance floor with bossa nova and house DJ sets, or helping curate a compilation of Japanese City Pop. What’s magic about the new Vetiver LP Up On High is the way these tangents color the ten songs without undermining a distinct move to more elemental, spacious and natural arrangements. At the heart of each of these ten songs is Cabic’s voice: sweet, tender and weathered—a welcome and soothing old friend if ever there was one. There are other familiar friends: the album also features longtime engineer and collaborator Thom Monahan and the same resourceful and versatile band that helped Cabic make the denser and more layered Complete Strangers from 2015. This album reflects the world that Cabic created and lives in: Jorge Ben phrasings peek out from behind Tom Petty's Wildflowers outtakes, a gentle jangle lifts whispers of REM’s Murmur on a breeze up from Compass Point Studios. But Up On High is most clearly Cabic and his band inhabiting the realm the band was born in—sleek, economical, soulful, and sometimes sadness-tinged melodies riding on the gentle choogle and sway of an ensemble moving in beautiful unison. This is an album that breathes with you in real, lived in, natural time.
Responsible Agents: Guillaume Brevers