The new Vetiver album, The Errant Charm, is a superb soundtrack for an afternoon idyll. This album was made for walking. Vetiver bandleader Andy Cabic spent hours wandering the streets around San Francisco’s Richmond District, listening to rough mixes, tinkering with lyrics and arrangements. You can hear his strides in the tempo of “Hard To Break,” which captures the brisk gait one might adopt while passing through a public green space: not hurried, just excited to be heading somewhere.
The album opens with “It’s Beyond Me,” a slow boil of acoustic guitar and vintage keyboards over a roomy beat. Here you’ll encounter almost every sonic idea showcased on The Errant Charm, the album’s universe distilled into one vibrant, six-and-a-half minute song. It builds to a robust character you’ve not heard from Vetiver before, but may have anticipated if you’ve followed them over the last four albums, from their eponymous 2004 debut through 2009’s Tight Knit. The Errant Charm: “errant” as in wayward, elusive. Wandering but not lost. Within that wandering, all manner of small treasures are uncovered. New ones surface with each listen. Go ahead, start the album over again and hear for yourself as you double back towards home.