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Range of Light can be summed up, in its entirety, by the opening track 'Glass/Film'. It opens up with some smartly modulated synth notes, which sound like the audio equivalent of a droplet hitting a still pool, conveyed with spooky accuracy. As this sound dissipates, a few gentle piano chords play over the top of some restrained bass percussion sounds. It's nuanced, it's delicate. But then, atop this sits a simple guitar line, which itself is then joined by some more restrained percussion, and then some horns start to chime in. We get some beaten keys beaten out, as the horns start to take over more, joined by ever more invasive guitar lines and irregular percussion, and... what once was this simple, well-constructed piece of delicate intricacy, is now a complicated mess which becomes hard to decipher. The above happens in the space of less than a minute, and it's a rough start to the record. There's so much going on in Range of Light that it feels as if S. Carey has absolutely no idea what kind of record he is trying to make.

Although, it does seem that the record he is doing his best to pay direct homage to is a Bon Iver record, just without any of the spark that goes into those recordings. We're talking Bon Iver's second album, of which recognisable strings, horns, and percussion, are abound in Range of Light (penultimate track 'The Dome' being the clearest child of Bon Iver). And sure, a lot of that is to be expected, given that Sean Carey is part of that group, but it actually only goes to highlight further just what a mess this record is. In part.

Because it's not all doom and gloom, and Sean Carey (lest we forget) is actually a very talented vocalist, and not afraid to put his vocals front-and-centre. Songs like 'Fire-Scene' are carried wonderfully, his delivery really drawing the song along dreamily. 'Fleeting Light' carries with it the same charms, and has this marching-band aesthetic which gives off a nice feel. 'Alpenglow' is uniquely S. Carey, and feels interesting, raw, and becomes an album highlight, but probably for the wrong reasons; it's a highlight because it's not ruined by Carey's less than delicate hands.

Which leads us on to the track which bears the scars of these hands deepest. 'Crown the Pines' is a track which draws you in with its playful, hushed vocal melody early on. It promises that Carey seems to have found a niche which works, and coming early on in the album's run-time, it hints that perhaps from here things are looking up. But then the accompanying vocal joins in, and it grates, and it feels incredibly disjointed. It goes against the good work already done, and adds an unnecessary, complicated layer to the track that it absolutely does not need. This accompanying vocal is provided by Justin Vernon himself. When you ruin the better part of a song by introducing Justin Vernon's vocals... something is not right. Something is fundamentally flawed in the track's composition.

Unfortunately, it all comes back to this point of subtlety. Carey is making music that concerns itself with nuance, and yet he has made the audio equivalent of cutting a victoria sponge cake with a chainsaw, doing his best to serve it up to a nervous gathering of increasingly swearing nuns. This isn't an album for fans of Bon Iver. It's got the constituent parts, but it doesn't have the same soul. It's as if someone heard you liked pancakes, so they decided to get some eggs, flour, and milk, but instead of cooking you some delicious savoury treats, they just mixed them all together in a bowl, then emptied the contents over your head, enquiring, as you run off crying, 'But I thought you liked pancakes, bro?'