As soon as you come across The Errant Charm by Vetiver, there will be two things that stick in your mind, at least if you approach things in a certain way. For one, the color scheme of the album sort of seems to hint at finding a warm place in a cold background, or even a sterile one for that matter. Two, the title reflects finding one’s way by not going the traditional, or expected path. After spending hours with the record, surely you’ll see where this all fits into the motifs of the record.
Everyone seemingly uses the acoustic guitar nowadays, stripping the sound of on-stage performances in favor of more intimate feelings. Such is the way you’ll begin on “It’s Beyond Me,” which begins by wrapping the acoustic guitar in hints of atmospherics, but just after the 1 minute mark, things lift up, albeit just a bit. The gentle shift in mood of the song matches that of the cover, going from one point and blending it into the next. You’ll really have to spend time with the details here, as they definitely hold a great deal of the musical meaning. For instance, “Worse for Wear” tramps on, with its hollow drum beat, muted strumming, but again, the melody shifts, going in what one can assume is a bit of an unexpected change. The Errant Charm is full of such moments, making it a joy for those who listen closely.
There’s even some peculiarities in Vetiver‘s approach this round. On “Fog Emotion” there’s evidence that the group have responded to current themes, kind of giving off that faux-80s groove, but, like the fog mentioned in the song, a mellower meandering track finds its home, moving the song away from known cliches, as the band clearly intends to make the sound their own. All this moves into what one can deem as the orange area of the album cover, offering up The Errant Charm‘s two hottest tracks. “Right Away” is a short and simple track, with really nothing special to it, other than the fact that the harmonies presented have a tendency to hang in your mind long after the song has ended. Even more special is the way it tails off, changes a bit, but maintains its lasting impression. “Wonder Why” has a bit of a moving stomp to it, so it’s easily going to find itself labeled one of the more upbeat tracks present, but it’s the momentary touches that grab you, such as the female vocal accompaniment during the chorus, or that piano kicking in and out of the track. This is the type of track that makes you want to go back again and again.
Just as the press release reads for The Errant Charm, it’s clearly a piece constructed for wandering off on your own path, finding your own place in the musical landscape of your soul. Whether you want that color to be bright or warm, you’re bound to find the songs Vetiver has put together as fitting for your own travels about, even if those travels only take place in your mind.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/9542.mp3]
Download: Vetiver – Wonder Why [MP3]