Review Summary: An album that takes you to natural settings. Listening to Range of Light, with all of it's beautiful vocal melodies, intricate layering, and purposeful song-writing, serves to be a a satisfying experience.
It seems that Sean Carey has finally found his voice. With his sophomore effort, “Range of Light”, his abilities as a musician and songwriter have been solidified. Though his debut album was also very strong (you can read my review of it), there is truly something special about this release. Range of Light has a certain cohesiveness that I feel was less apparent in his previous album. The individual tracks are stronger; there isn’t really a dull moment on the album. Also, Carey’s vocals have progressed since his last release; this is especially apparent in “Crown the Pines”, which is just as good, if not better than the strongest tracks on “All We Grow”. This track shows some improvement in his instrumentation and layering. On the other hand, we only hear a small group of songs layered as grandiosely, much like the previous album. The remaining tracks retain tamer characteristics. But this is the beauty of Sean Carey’s style; the subtlety and detail.
There is something to be said about the range of instruments found on his album as well. Carey never fails to impress with his creative percussive elements (being a percussionist at heart). The new addition of instruments such as strings, bells, and harp is refreshing, and his usage of ambient noises continually does its job in giving his compositions a nice sense of space. The textures made through Carey’s layering are interesting and beautiful; a lot of influence is placed on landscapes and natural settings. Just from the album cover, the listener develops an accurate image of what kind of place the music will take them to. I can also take a wild guess and say that Sean Carey might like to go on hikes and nature walks. Practically all of the songs are named after something influenced by nature. With all of this in mind, Range of Light is one of the most landscape-centered albums I’ve heard in a long time, even more so than his last album.
Vocally, Carey puts on his best performance yet. His range and pitch are on point. Not to mention that he sounds a lot more confident in his abilities. In “Neverending Fountain“, he even sings, “I know my heart better than you may think”. “Neverending Fountain” also features a drumbeat made from footsteps in gravel (what sounds like it, at least). His vocal melodies are bursting with emotion without sounding strained. It’s not really loud emotion, but rather purposeful and passionate. There’s also a compelling sense of yearning; at least that’s one of the more powerful feelings that I felt. I think this album is more purposeful than his last in general. There’s more of an evident “drive” with Range of Light. I am extremely impressed with this album, and with Sean Carey’s growth as a musician and songwriter.
Fav Tracks: Crown the Pines, Fire-Scene, The Dome