Sep 082010
Authors: Michael Elizabeth Sakas

For those who enjoy Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver project but still have trouble pronouncing the name, you are in luck. The drummer of the highly admired band has come out with a solo album, and he’s keeping it simple for us with both his music and his name.

Sean Carey’s debut album “All We Grow” echoes the influence he’s gained from his stint with Vernon. Haunting wordless harmonies reminiscent of “Blood Bank” and “Lump Sum” appear in the first song “Move” and are sprinkled among the rest of the album.

Sufjan Stevens is another artist whose influence is strongly present, especially in Carey’s instrumental piece “Rothko Fields.” The flutes and whirring chimes characteristic of Stevens’ tend to appear in the intros and outros of the tunes, combing two indie trends into one gorgeous sounding album.

Carey’s voice falls second to the luscious and beautiful pieces he has composed, and the best tracks could arguably be his instrumental ones. While listening to the album, it is hard to forget what he does first, which is drumming.

His voice is forgettable, monotone and weak, merely floating on top of the musical pieces that could easily stand alone. The track, “In The Stream,” does a better job at embracing his picturesque lyrics than the rest.

The album as an entirety sounds like a soundtrack to a contemplative film, which isn’t a bad thing at all. In its soothing and simple nature it takes on the role of background music, appropriate for naps, cleaning up the apartment or making breakfast.

S. Carey’s 40 minutes of solo work is worth the listen, and if you fall asleep to it, take that as a sign of appreciation. No serious ground has been broken, but Carey proves he has the potential to grow into something more.

Music reviewer Michael Elizabeth Sakas can be reached at

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