Apparently, most of the ideas on The Errant Charm were thought up by singer Andy Cabic while strolling through the streets of San Francisco. You can tell. The folky hum of that city pervades this album of ten breezy, gentle west coast folk songs.So, while the fifth album from the American nu-folkers Vetiver is a slightly more electrified variation of their traditional organic indie pop sound, it’s clear that The Errant Charm is still in thrall to the folk scene that the band have so faithfully recalled previously.

It’s well done, sure, and you couldn’t criticize it for putting a foot wrong. Vetiver has always been about creating a cohesive sound. The soft, whispered lyrics; the relaxed rhythms, the breezy guitars: this is the sound of a band who know what they do well and playing to their strengths.

It begins well. The gentle strum of ‘It’s Beyond Me’ is a beautifully understated opening. Yet as the album continues it quickly begins to feel over familiar. It’s like talking to a friend when you’ve run out of things to say and become bored of each other’s company.

‘Can’t You Tell’ is the shimmering stand out, it’s organ sound and shuffling rhythm section creating a dream-like atmosphere. It certainly sounds more experimental than anything else on the album. From then you keep waiting for it to go somewhere, for Cabic to let go. But he remains placid. Even when they plug in for ‘Wonder Why’ and ‘Ride, Ride, Ride’ this relaxed atmosphere seems to smother the songs.

For a summer album, The Errant Charm never comes out of the shade. It never pushes as far as contemporaries like Joanna Newsom, or even former long time collaborator Devendra Banhart, do. You just expect a little more five albums in.

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