Following the cult and critical success of their classic debut For Emma Forever Ago, Justin Vernon and his indie-folk band Bon Iver return for a self-titled release that looks and sounds like art, as this album’s dedication shows just how deep their devotion for music really is.
Originally penned as Letters for Marvin, Bon Iver won’t be returned to sender; this is note perfect. Already well received (it hit number 2 on the American billboard charts and 4 in the U.K. charts) this may just be the album of the year. As deep and remote as the log-cabins that you could find Vernon in, this album has a calm, chilled feel that evokes introspective and inspiring elements. On his embark Vernon names tracks after various places in the world, whilst exploring the musical landscape like the indie Kanye West, (a man who shared a Monster collaboration with Iver).
Perth is the perfect opener, as Bon Iver go up and under for an epic track that really is one of the best. This blends in seamlessly with the magnificent Minnesota WI as Bon Iver crosses tracks and time-zones. Exploring more vocal arrangements, Vernon lets us hear that his vocal instrument really is dynamic, almost jazz-feeling in its tone-shifting constant change.
The flux continues with the beautiful Holocene, the uprising Towers and the atmospheric Michicant. The album really takes us away on Hinnom, TXWash., while Calgary sweeps us away. A song as vast and awe-inspiring as Canada, the country the songs namesake is a part of.
The journey isn’t over, however, as we go to Lisbon OH for more beauty, but this time of the instrument kind. Then it almost sounds like we are taken back to the eighties with the finale Beth/Rest, which lays this album down perfectly in its sublime simplicity. As our musical trip with Bon Iver comes to an end, we really have gone far in just over a half-hour. This encompassing piece goes further musically then its predecessor, raising the bar for any next-comer who desires to take their musical craft to a finer, artistic point.