Vetiver – ‘Up On High’ album review

Vetiver Up on High album review 2019 Mama Bird Recording Co

Signed to Mama Bird Recording Co (Hayley Heynderickx/Courtney Marie Andrews), Andy Cabic’s Vetiver project returns with new album ‘Up On High’. Written on acoustic guitar over a few springtime days in the high desert of California and recorded with regular engineer and collaborator Thom Monahan, the record is a collaborative effort that takes inspiration from incredible alt-American records including R.E.M.’s ‘Murmur and Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers’.

There’s a sparsity to the opening ‘The Living End’ which gives Andy’s rasping vocals and lyrics space to breathe and really get inside your head as he talks about ‘cold comforts’ and ‘drifting like an ocean down the street’ before then admitting that he has ‘a taste for killing time’ and that he’s ‘lost but I know that I’ll be found’ over soothing sounds. The introspective ‘To Who Knows Where’ follows with observations on how reality struggles to match up to fantasy: ‘Got to earn the life we share’. This recent single also finds Andy pleading with a loved one to give him one more chance: ‘Is there any way to prove I care?’

The faster ‘Swaying’ veers more into a more melodic and melancholic country-meets-Dawes territory as Andy pleads for guidance: ‘Come take my hand, show me where night begins’. He then reveals how he’s searching for answers like ‘palm trees i the wind, swaying’ and this contemplative feel carries on through the tender ‘All We Could Want’: ‘Who’ll be there when it falls apart? Who stood by you right from the start?’ There’s a grander and more shoegazey feel on ‘Wanted, Never Asked’ as Andy once again reflects on the power of nature: ‘Once a songbird caught me by surprise with the strength of its singing’. He then starts offering reflections on his own actions in the past: ‘Don’t expect to get a second chance’; ‘I was wrong now I know what you’ve been through’.

‘A Door Shuts Quick’ slows things down in a sweet way as Andy opens up about regrets and lost love – and what happens to someone after the romantic fire burns out and you let them go: ‘If by chance we meet again, the story’s long from where we’ve been’. The closing ‘Lost (In Your Eyes)’ again shines a light on the power of love with the goosebump-inducing lyrics: ‘I get lost in your eyes’ being repeated throughout.

‘Up On High’ is the kind of record that wraps itself warmly inside your ears – albeit with moments of sheer honesty that will give you the chills.

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