Album Review: S. Carey – Hundred Acres

Sean Carey is best known as the co-frontman of the critically-acclaimed indie-alternative folk ban Bon Iver, alongside Justin Vernon. What Bon Iver fans may not be aware of is that Carey also releases solo music as S. Carey, which opens up another world of gorgeous, tender vocal melodies, complete with peaceful and easy listening vibes. As a follow up to his 2015 EP Supermoon, Carey has just released Hundred Acres, his third full-length album.

The album begins with the stunning Rose Petals, which is beautiful yet haunting with its eerie tones and enchanting vocals. The dark, bold strumming’s of the brassy acoustic guitar brings to mind similar sounding Bon Iver styles. Track two, Hideout brings you in right away with sharp, loud piano chords crashing. Backed by an acoustic fingerpicking melody, the song succeeds in building momentum for the entire album. Carey’s hushed vocals on this song are a perfect example of his soft, angelic songwriting ability.

Yellowstone provides a bit more upbeat vibe with percussive acoustic guitar rhythms. Perhaps Carey’s classical percussion performance major was a big help on developing such a catchy, memorable beat for the third song on his new album. The track contains major elements of surfing vibes, which matches up to Carey’s soft alternative indie rock style. Track four True North is one of the first truly memorable songs on the album. The song is so exciting that you’ll have to repeat it before you continue on to the next track. With beautiful vocal melodies, and carefully crafted instrumentation, Carey’s songwriting and studio production skills show their true expertise colors on this song.

One of the more experimental songs on the album is track five Emery, which begins with a beautiful, spacey instrumental jam that transcends listeners into a rainforest paradise setting. Just as Carey’s vocals begin, so do the drums and all of the layers collide to produce a unique and impressive song? The title track Hundred Acres follows and is the most dominantly acoustic song on the entire album. The end features an energized build up of more studio layers but the main highlight of the song is the genius acoustic guitar.

More I See, track seven, features some beautiful falsetto vocals as well as gorgeous blending harmonies. A lot of studio effects on this track will bring to mind a lot of the studio effects that Bon Iver uses on their studio work. Fool’s Gold features more somber, acoustic and mellow vibes, as well as a tender vocal melody, whilst track nine, Have You Stopped To Notice, features beautiful, airy vocals and dreamy, pretty guitar melodies. The album ends with the brilliant Meadow Song, which is an extended vocal jam packed with bright studio effects and tones.

S Carey has proved his ability to shine in his own spotlight when he’s not collaborating with Bon Iver. On Hundred Acres Carey takes his master skill set of tender songwriting to new levels.

Scott J. Herman