(EDITOR NOTE: Pitchfork already released a review of this album, but I can assure you I wrote this before they did. Strangely, it’s very similar, so please don’t think I copied it)
Alrighty then (ha!), I feel productive, so here’s another review. This time, it’s S. Carey’s (Bon Iver) Range of Light, released just a day ago! I’ve had it for a couple of days already…don’t ask.
Sean Carey is a very interesting person, I admit I was so intrigued I ended up searching his background story, but I’m not gonna go in that direction this time.
Carey’s music can be related to tons of artists. And I promise you WILL find several Bon Iver hints, and of course…Justin Vernon played a big part here. And it was also recorded in April Base Studios in Wisconsin (DUH!).
In my opinion, Range of Light is a true festival of details. Carey became an expert in placing tons of instruments in the right spots. Don’t get me started with all the arrangements, they’re all magnificent.
The opener, “Glass/Film”, is a great way to start. The beginning reminds me a lot of Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians (if you’re a musician, that’s a must hear). You will also discover a couple of latin-driven vocal lines. “Creaking” follows the pattern of the first song, only that this one feels a bit more produced. It sounds like an ambient/post-rock tune, if you ask me. “Crown The Pines” takes advantage of vocals in a very creative way. It’s got various Bon Iver hints, that will be utterly revealed halfway through.
“Fire-scene”, the only single (as far as I know), has a “Wash.” kinda scent. As the rest of the album, the vocals are soft and tender, never requesting the spotlight. The piano melody in the background might be the best and most effective arrangement of the entire record. “Radiant” is merely an intermission, sorta like “Lisbon, OH” (again…by Bon Iver). It could’ve easily been a bonus track, I don’t find it convincing.
“Alpenglow” is a true jewel. A very bright jewel, actually. Vocals don’t have to be loud to be striking, and that’s one of the pros Carey had present in the writing of this piece.
Usually, the second half is the weakest, considering that you must start with a bomb to catch someone’s attention. For Range of Light, it’s the opposite. The outstanding amount of details and instruments that you can hear in the final three tracks (“Fleeting Light”, “The Dome” and “Neverending Fountain”) overpower the previous six recordings.
Range of Light is a true and heartfelt festival of emotions and details, but sadly, that’s not compelling enough to convince me that Carey made something absolutely original.
I liked the album a lot and I think Carey’s next LP will be even bigger. As for now, he is one step beyond, but still far away from escaping Justin Vernon’s shadow.
I will enjoy his music more when I feel it’s only his to show, and not someone else’s.
Interesting, but not what I expected
Catch y’all next time,