Bon Iver’s latest project makes me want to say its name correctly. I’ve been mispronouncing Bon Iver (Bone-ee-Vare) since being introduced to the band, which music critics are saying sounds more like a full-fledged group now than when singer Justin Vernon got depressed and locked himself in a cabin in 2007, recording the beautiful “For Emma, Forever Ago” within a few months. While I don’t normally pay attention to industry hobnobs (because their fancy-pants words really irk me), Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore effort is indeed richer, incorporating more musical experiment than Vernon’s standard falsetto and folk.
Standout tracks are “Perth,” which kicks off the new album with a strong melody, slow drumming and eventually, a blast of horns that drone on through the song’s end. Light claps and the line “I was not magnificent” add to the dreaminess of “Holocene,” while a bicycle bell ring sneaks in between the steady bobbing and weaving of “Michicant.” Slightly panicky piano chords bombard us at “Wash.” and mesh with Vernon’s whispers, building in intensity. It feels like we’re looking for something, and we haven’t quite found it yet.
That’s what could be said about “Bon Iver,” which should be listened to front to back and not as individual tracks. It’s following Vernon and Co. on an adventure, one that flows on from one place to the next. We won’t be seeing any memorable “Skinny Love”-esque hits with this new release out Tuesday, but as long as we kindly forget the “Beth/Rest” finale, Bon Iver’s got us hooked for one smooth, innovative trip.
Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore album comes out on Jagjaguwar June 21, 2011. Listen to “Wash.” from the new album below.
Guest-girlfriend-blogged by Amber of Drinking for Two.