Bon Iver - S/T


26 juin 2011, 19h37m

I, for one, am glad Justin Vernon didn’t return to his secluded cabin in the woods to record his follow-up to For Emma, Forever Ago because that sounds too much like the plot to Evil Dead 2, and Mr. Vernon takes himself too seriously to pull a Sam Raimi. Instead, the man with a chilling falsetto must’ve listened to a lot of TV on the Radio and maybe some Iron & Wine. No shame in that, but he hasn’t yet found the right balance to incorporate all his new inspirations.

1)Perth: From the first few guitar notes, I worry if Mr. Vernon’s going easy listening on us but, by the first hook, when he repeats the first few guitar notes with amped up distortion after a few building snare rolls, he’s done something else entirely—expanded his sound.

2)Minnesota, WI: But he’s not done expanding. Here, he drops his falsetto to a vocal more typical of TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. Of course, it wouldn’t be Bon Iver if Justin didn’t bring back in the falsetto, so he does, beautifully harmonizing with his own lower-octave vocals. Later in the song, he brings back the crunchy guitars, still subtle enough to work on a Bon Iver album. He loses some of the old simplicity and emotional power, but I’m all for musical expansion.

3)Holocene: This song is why I’m glad this album isn’t For Emma 2, because this might’ve passed for one of the better songs on it.

4)Towers: Not bad, if a little overproduced.

5)Michicant: Already, easily one of my favorites for 2011. A simple, haunting guitar line, a reverberating snare that carefully weaves itself in and out of the song, and even a bicycle bell. Justin’s vocals stroll over the soundscape seamlessly.

6)Hinnom, TX: How do you follow “Michicant”? With mellow echoing keys you wouldn’t expect outside of Coldplay or U2. Vocally, he’s channeling Tunde again as he does in “Minnesota, WI,” but more aptly.

7)Wash.: Imagine early Bon Iver at his tense emotional best, only over an old church-y piano and some strings.

8)Calgary: Some cool distorted guitar string bending here and there. More of the same though overall. Not necessarily in a bad way.

9)Lisbon, OH: Obligatory instrumental interlude.

10)Beth/Rest: But no interlude could prepare me for this. Did Justin Vernon slaughter a Prince and Kenny G impersonator, mistaking them for the actual artists, then bathe himself in their blood on the off-chance it would give him their musical abilities? Because that’s what this sounds like to me. And this is the argument for why Mr. Vernon should have recorded For Emma 2.

It’s an album with obvious rough edges but, if it’s any indication of what’s to come, his next album could well be amazing with a little smoothing out.

Best Tracks: “Michicant,” “Wash.,” “Hinnom, TX”
Album Rating: 3.8/5


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