Recorded during breaks from performing with Bon Iver, Sean Carey's solo debut (he records as S. Carey), is as lovely as anything you'll hear in 2010. Although Justin Vernon records most of the Bon Iver material in the studio on his own, Carey is an integral member of the touring band on drums and vocals. Here, he makes his case that he is as attention worthy as Vernon's studio efforts.
"All We Grow" certainly compliments "For Emma, Forever Ago" musically. It's hard to imagine if you love Bon Iver's work, you won't love this as well. It may not have the whole 'locked away in a cabin, clearing his head through writing a deeply personal album' story going for it, but it is still a magnificent listen.
Carey creates soundscapes using a lot of acoustic instrumentation, piano and wonderfully multi-tracked vocals, that often leave him backing up his main vocal until his voice is just enveloping you in its warmth. Opening track "Move" is exquisite as Carey's soft vocal carries the divine medley alongside the acoustic guitar backing. "We Fell" builds upon a driving piano line with Carey's main vocal interwoven with backing choruses of himself as well.
This is not a challenging listen by any means, but you need to give these songs time to build and breathe as they are not all structured like your standard radio fare. And this is a good thing when the music is as beautiful as it is on "All We Grow." Never is this more apparent than on the gorgeous "Mothers", with its sighing backing chorus and sparkling acoustics. This is the kind of music that can warm you up by itself on a cold winters night.
The Bon Iver connection can't hurt, but even without it, this is an album worth your time and attention. Sean Carey has produced one of 2010's best debuts. You'll be haunted in a good way.
"All We Grow" was released in the U.S. August 24, 2010 on the Jagjaguwar label.