In the Winnie the Pooh stories, Pooh and his friends call the Hundred Acre Wood their home. It is a place of love and life, warmth and friendship. Hundred Acres, S. Carey's third full-length album after 2010's All We Grow and 2014's Range of Light — yearns for that feeling of home. While the album sounds less like his previous two records, opting instead for a more simple and natural sound reminiscent of early Bon Iver (Carey is employed as his drummer), the fragility and rawness inspired by S. Carey's Wisconsin hinterlands is still there.
The more narrow and focused choice of instrumentation is one of the key differences between Hundred Acres and Carey's previous works. The piano and synths that created All We Grow and Range of Light's ethereal soundscapes have been replaced by the acoustic guitar as the backbone of many of the songs. The songwriting is more traditional, opting for more verse-chorus structures as opposed to drone-like repetition. Most importantly, S. Carey's soothing vocals are front and centre. It places a greater importance on the record's lyrics. Ultimately, the album sounds confidently beautiful.
While some may not be as memorable, songs like "Meadow Song" make this album one of S. Carey's best. We are reminded about our desire to return home — to find what was once lost. With this album, S. Carey has proven that he isn't just Bon Iver's drummer — he can deliver a powerful album on his own. (Jagjaguwar/Outside)