Record Review: S. Carey

S. Carey
Hoyas EP
Eau Claire, WI


“Electronic post-folk done right”

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It’s been a big year for Bon Iver but we can only assume that band member Sean Carey’s experience contributing to Bon Iver, Bon Iver may set himself up for a big one soon. The boundaries have definitely been pushed on Hoyas. This four track EP is somewhat reminiscent of Justin Vernon’s Blood Bank EP insomuch that it blew fans away with its brief use of electronic effects, namely the use of Auto-Tune on “Woods.”

S. Carey seems to be following the trend to the nth degree, exercising his unabashed use of Auto-Tune, digitized beats, and synths. It’s no coincidence that Vernon and Brian Joseph are behind the boards here on Hoyas.

This is almost a complete departure from Carey’s debut LP All We Grow. The latter featured a guitar, piano, and his voice and it all worked beautifully, stretching out across tracks and enveloping the listener in a folky post-rock sound.

That spirit is partly here, if not a little more urgent and intricate. Instead of building up, the electronic beats, modulated layers of vocals, and pulsing bit-crushed synths hit you right away on “Two Angles” and don’t rest up. But this EP is at its best when it mixes those elements with traditional outlets not heard on All We Grow, like the brass instrumentation on “Angels” or the purposeful vocal hiccups on “Inspir” and “Marfa,” contrived or not.

It’s exciting to hear Carey do a 180. But the real trick is to blend elements here and elements from All We Grow to make something listeners will really treasure, while planting himself as an artist who deserves his own stage, up front. If Hoyas is any indication, the future looks good for Carey.

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