Blowin? Without the Wind: Vetiver shakes its freak folk association by being neither freaky nor folky.

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If any band benefits from Robert Christgau’s rule that an album should always get a minimum of three listens, it’s the San Francisco–based folk band Vetiver. On first pass, frontman Andy Cabic’s delivery is languid and disinterested, and the music sounds defiantly inert. Like a Tarkovsky flick, a Low album or, hell, a music review more than 200 words, Cabic’s songs demand patience from the listener. Vetiver’s fourth album (and first Sub Pop release) starts off ridiculously slow out of the gates with a soporific pair of songs: “Rolling Sea” and “Sister.” Cabic is so low-key on these acoustic numbers that anyone would be forgiven for wanting to hold a mirror to his mouth to check that he’s still breathing. But, after several listens, the subtle charms of “Rolling Sea” become apparent. Whereas Cabic’s voice once seemed weak, it now sounds unassuming and almost wise when he sings “Nothing escapes the rolling sea/Not the past, nor you or me.” Even with a newfound appreciation of the opening slow songs, it’s refreshing when “Everyday” begins with purposeful, energetic guitar strumming. For better or worse, “Everyday” makes the argument that the smiling, surf-folker Jack Johnson is a more accurate musical reference than Cabic’s pal, the longhaired folk moppet known as Devendra Banhart. Perhaps that’s unfair, but it’s equally unfair that Vetiver has, since its inception, been lumped in with the freak folk movement—despite a shared propensity for being unplugged and unshaven, Vetiver has always had a cleaner, more conventional style than the New Weird America set. Honestly, no one is getting freaked out by such saccharine Valentines as “Everyday I’m away from you/Shakes me up inside/I wanna be near ya/Know that you are here/Lying right next to me /How happy we both would be.” It’s no accident that the best track on the album, “Another Reason to Go,” shakes things up by adding a dash of reggae. Vetiver previously tipped its knit tam to that style by covering Garland Jeffreys, an artist who flitted between reggae, rock, and soul, on its last record—the all-covers Thing of the Past. “Another Reason to Go,” embellished by horns and maracas, is reminiscent of something from George Harrison’s much maligned island rock album, Gone Troppo. It’s laid-back but anything but a snoozer. Tight Knit is a nice little collection of songs, but its pleasures are hard to find. And the payoff for that work is mild–even after several listens, worlds will remain unrocked, minds unblown, and muffins unbuttered.