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New Directions

Vetiver embrace the strange

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San Francisco songwriter Andy Cabic (pictured) is the man behind long-running folk ensemble Vetiver. He formed the band in 2002. Over the course of five albums, Cabic has taken Vetiver from psychedelic freak rock to dusty folk to ambient soundscapes. On Complete Strangers, the band's sixth album, Vetiver switch it up again.

The new record, released in March, marks four years since the group's last LP, the longest gap in time between Vetiver albums since the band's self-titled debut came out in 2004.

That last album, The Errant Charm, was a subtle record of ethereral jams. On Complete Strangers, Cabic takes the leisurely folk to new sonic locales.

Some songs on Complete Strangers, like "Current Carry," are infused with bongo beats and sunny ukulele strings for a tropical sensation. Others, like the hypnotic opener "Stranger Still," incorporate drum machine-produced blips and beats, sounding more like an Icelandic electronica project than a Bay Area rock band.

Cabic's always been a master at creating effortless sounding melodies. Yet with all these exotic influences, it's clear that trying to predict what he is going to pull out of the hat next is a futile effort. It's also clear that the last four years have expanded his musical palette and allowed him to lead Vetiver anywhere he pleases.

Vetiver perform on Thursday, Nov. 5, at Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 10pm. $20–$22. 415.388.1100.

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