Bon Iver – Blood Bank

January 27, 2009

boniverbloodbankWhereas Bon Iver’s 2008 debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, was mostly a one man show, this time out Justin Vernon is backed by a full band for this four track followup EP. It’d be misleading to say that the result is a fuller sound, since the music on For Emma, Forever Ago was already densely layered and notably fully formed, effortlessly blending soulful vocals with folk, rock and pop. The best comparison is maybe to Bon Iver’s live shows, where Vernon was at ease collaborating with other musicians and doing varied and often more expansive takes on songs from the first album, the different layers of the songs blending into each other in a way that was perhaps less distinctive, but even more powerful and affecting. The EP’s title track, “Blood Bank,” is the best example of those latter qualities, and it has an almost improvisatory feel, albeit disciplined and controlled. It’s also notably lighter in tone, lyrically and musically. The second track, “Beach Baby,” is musically more along the lines of the first album, albeit all too short, while “Babys,” the third track is a largely instrumental track. The final song, “Woods,” features a virtual chorus of Auto Tune enhanced vocals and is the most soulful tune Bon Iver has yet released. It’s a lovely end to an essential release.


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