Vetiver's first album is a rather wonderful debut, and possibly telling of a very interesting place for the band in the contemporary folk scene. For what I know, hey hailed from San Francisco and could be considered "psych-folk" kin to Joanna Newson, another young promising artist, and Devendra Barnhart, although not as dark and adventurous as the latter, both of whom guest here along with Hope Sandoval.
Actually, "Vetiver" is the name of an essential oil which is described as "Woody, earthy, herbaceous, spicy almost smoky," which is not a bad description for the overall mood of the songs included here. To this I'd add "tender, hushed, quiet yet not bland."
This CD, impressive for a debut, already shows a wide breadth of interests and a distinct sound, from the zanier "Amour Fou" -not one of my favorites necessarily - to the Spanish-sung- pastoral "Los Pajaros del Rio."
This is not to say that Vetiver is beyond influences, Nick Drake -as much as his name has been an abused reference to most recent folk ... I know- and Vashti Bunyan , or even early Donovan, come to mind easily.
Along with these, "Without a Song," "Amerilee," "Belles" and "On a Nerve" are worth exploring for their diverse beauty. I must say too that I am impressed with how versatile their arrangements can be -using almost exclusively guitar, cello and violin- and the appropriateness of its stripped production.
Actually, going back to the eponymous essential oil, among its possible uses, this oil is supposed to help in healing depression, exhaustion and insomnia. I would not discard the possibility that this music may have similar beneficial effects.