To Find Me Gone
DiCristina Stair Builders
e musicians luhv us some Western country psychedelia; it gives us a reason to flip our thesauruses open to the bookmark we keep near “languid.” In the middle of summer? Even better. Every time June rolls around we’re that much more willing to fuck with an album that’s deconstructing the sunset or some other such whimsy. So arrives Vetiver’s sophomore effort, To Find Me Gone, a hop and a skip away from any kind of “folk” music and a swan dive into smoove country waters.
To Find Me Gone escapes the Devendra Banhart-ushered crucible of their eponymous debut album, with frontman Andy Cabic prodding the nooks of the Nor-Cal summer scene, jar-ing insects and toeing the sands. This stuff has history, too: Buffalo Springfield, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service. Recorded in LA, says you? Throw Love in there as well, then.
Vetiver, however, are considerably more sterile and friendly than the names that drip off them, and I mean that in a mostly positive way. To Find Me Gone treads some kind of line between simplicity and subtlety; the record at first sounds like a pretty straightforward solution, a rough mix of Cabic’s sweet, breezy vocals and his ever-humming acoustic guitar. It takes a committed ear to dig into the baroque coda on “No One Word” or the erstwhile electric strumming on “Won’t Be Me.”
To Find Me Gone was built much the same way as Vetiver’s debut, with Cabic at the helm and friends—Banhart and Hope Sandoval among them—filling in the cracks. The focus, though, stays on Cabic’s pleasant tenor. He rarely slurs or mumbles, but his musings retain a flight and fancy that seem light and fleeting; I distinctly remember one line about “confessing being an honest way of lying” and some lukewarm anti-war/violence sentiment in “I Know No Pardon,” but Cabic seems to have found a weird purgatory for his voice—he melts into the strums and twangs, but he’s so smooth and unassuming that he doesn’t add a lot of texture. Cabic allows plenty of “Lat dat dat dahhh”-ing and plenty more letting the instruments marinate carry these tunes, lending To Find Me Gone a simple, native cleanliness. Even when Cabic tips his hand, practically screaming “country music!” during the pleasant album closer “Down at El Rio,” he’s acting within himself, charming, patient, content.
Really, though, Cabic needs more “Red Lantern Girls,” a gauzy folk workout that hides and seeks until a brutish electric guitar prods the rhythm and heads for higher ground. It is everything the rest of the album is not: aggressive, terse, and surprising. But buried down at track nine, it has the unintended effect of waking you the hell up and reminding you that this lazy summer honky-folk stuff won’t and probably shouldn’t last forever. You’ll want similar such awakenings from the other songs, but repeated listens don’t deliver, even if the charm of the album’s main course fails to wear. To Find Me Gone suffers, then, at the mouth of its one boisterous caller, a song that seems to wake the rest of the album from its hazy daydream. Cabic would do well to indulge such abrupt, rude tendencies more often.
Stream the entirety of To Find Me Gone here