S. Carey


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On his second EP and fourth solo release, Wisconsin's S. Carey continues to hike down the nature trail of deeply pastoral, indie chamber-folk. With influences that range from composer Steve Reich to naturalist John Muir, his music generally comes across as a sort of soothing balm that marries rustic imagery with classical-inspired sophistication. Containing gentle reimaginings of four songs from his first two LPs (2010's All We Grow and 2014's Range of Light), along with the newly composed title track and a cover of Radiohead's "Bullet Proof… I Wish I Was," the understated Supermoon rarely raises itself above a whisper. Much of the appeal of Carey's first two albums is in their subtle, multi-layered orchestral arrangements that quietly explode with guitars, horns, strings, and clever, skittering percussion parts to frame his austere melodies. The songs themselves, while beautiful in tone and style, often feel more like well-honed mood pieces existing as vehicles for his textural compositional style. To revisit already tranquil songs like "Fire - Scene" and "In the Stream" with what are essentially solo piano versions seems a bit superfluous. The original versions were already quite downplayed and if anything, these sparse renditions actually draw attention to how little is really going on in some of Carey's songs. Aside from the enchanting "We Fell," everything here ambles along at the same idle pace which, without its accompanying finery, feels too sleepy for its own good. The Radiohead cover is pleasant enough, but comes across as filler on an already slim volume. Carey's strengths are in building enchanting musical landscapes inspired by the beauty of the natural world, but presented here as a more straightforward piano-and-strings songman, his shortcomings are revealed.

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