Wednesday 24 January 2018

Music: All We Grow by S Carey * * * *

John Meagher

John Meagher

If this debut album sounds uncannily like Bon Iver's gorgeously understated 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago, it's hardly surprising when you learn that Sean Carey is the drummer of that band.

In the minds of most Bon Iver fans -- this one included -- it is frontman and songwriter Justin Vernon who is seen as the beginning, middle and end of the band. But All We Grow shows that Bon Iver is not just the fruits of one man's labours.

This is a gentle, understated, quite beautiful collection, sensitively produced and best heard through headphones. The arrangements are intricate and spare and, unsurprisingly considering his profession, the percussion is quite something. His inventive stick-work elevates Action, which, replete with discordant electric guitar, is the loudest track here.

Carey can also sing. He may not be quite as expressive as Vernon or hit the same falsetto heights, but his voice is honest and true. His looped staccato chanting and soft, mournful voice works beautifully on the piano-led We Fell, while there's a hymn-like quality to Mothers, the most gorgeous song here.

Had For Emma not come out first, chances are this album -- steeped in a pastoral world -- would be even more acclaimed and while we await the next Bon Iver album, this is far more than just a stop-gap.

Incidentally, Justin Vernon has been busy of late too. He was flown to Hawaii to record a track for the new Kanye West album. The rapper had been so taken with his Blood Bank EP that he added him to a contributor list that includes the more obvious Beyonce and Jay Z. Vernon and West: now, that's a collaboration from the left field.

Burn it: Mothers; Action; We Fell

Irish Independent

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