/dicristina stair builders; 2004/



Vetiver are : Andy Cabic, Devendra Banhart, Alissa Anderson, and Jim Gaylord

Guests: Hope Sandoval does backing vocals on one song. My Bloody Valentine/The Warm Inventions' Colm O'Ciosoig plays drums twice. Joanna Newsom plays harp once. Craig Koozer and Nick Holdskom appear as well; even though i have no idea who they are, they deserve credit.

Andy Cabic writes songs and sings, Devendra Banhart plays guitar, does backup vocals, the other ones do whatever violinists and cellists do.

The album is filled with timeless psych-folk songs, crafted with love and wooden instruments. Devendra "i write more songs than you" Banhart co-wrote two of the album's very best songs, "Amour Fou" and "Los Pájaros del Rio." "Amour Fou" is as catchy as psych-folk gets (= you can clap your hands to it and drive an innocent country girl into some wild squaredancin'). Banhart howls "She wanted Looooooooooooooooooove, crazy love / Amour fouuuuuuuu" like a damn happy puppy. "Los Pájaros del Rio" (The Birds of the Rio), an incredible song reminiscent of the softest bossa nova songs you ever heard, never ceases to make me smile. Cello and violin softly underline Banhart's fingerpicked melodies. 

Cabic has a great voice, sometimes soft sometimes a bit more abrasive and the band remains incredibly delicate and low-key throughout the album, unleashing polished jewels, softly arranged and tightly woven.

"Angel's Share" features Hope "my voice is lovelier than yours" Sandoval. It's a quiet number, and Sandoval unsurprisingly adds a lot to it, even though she only does backing vocals. Maybe it's just me but her voice could turn any song into something dramatically moving. I don't mean that the song wasn't good, it's great, but she turns it into something you won't forget.

Sandoval's hubby Colm O'Ciosiog appears on two songs, staying low-key on the album closer "On a Nerve" and building a psych-folk epic ending (= it wakes you up) on "Luna Sea."

There. This is a great album. If you like dreamy, wooden songs, soft and handcrafted, Vetiver's debut album will rock your world.  

/june 1st 2004/