With a Name Like Bon It Has To Be Good

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Bon Iver: Album Review

Bon Iver’s self-titled and much-anticipated sophomore release is a dream-like interpretation of sound — and an impressive follow-up to 2008’s breakout album For Emma, Forever Ago, which was released on Jagujaguwar Records.

Bon Iver has a sound that is akin to artists like Band
of Horses, Iron and Wine and Chris Martin of Coldplay.

Justin Vernon began recording under the name Bon Iver in 2007. Bon Iver is named with the intentional misspelling of the French word for “good winter.” The live band consists of Vernon on vocals and guitar; Michael Noyce on vocals, baritone guitar and guitar; Matthew McCaughan on bass, drums and vocals; and Sean Corey on drums, vocals and piano.

For the new album, Vernon brought on board well-known bass saxophonist Colin Stetson and pedal-steel guitarist Greg Leisz.

The album consists of 10 tracks that all are representative of a place. The music has a nice ebb and flow, as each place on the album is expressed in Bon Iver’s musical translation. The lyrics on the album seemingly float in waves of poetry, and the album is heavily laden with a folk-influenced orchestral sound infusion. It all translates into a beautiful listening experience for the music connoisseur.

The opening track, “Perth,” comes in with a slow, soft guitar that delivers the listener into a building of ghost-like voices — all of which intertwine with drumming that sounds like it is being played by a Civil War drummer boy. It paints a picture through lyrics and images of long-ago battles and memories of the past.

Two other tracks that really stand out on this album are “Michicant” and the end track “Beth/Rest,” which is a favorite on the album.

“Michicant” starts off with the lyrics, “I was unafraid / I was a boy / I was a tender age / melic in the naked / knew a lake and drew the lofts for page.” The rolling waves of melody seemingly wash ashore as the poetic lyrics create a story of youth and wonderment.

“Beth/Rest” comes in with ’80s-sounding synths and vocals — with a hint of Depeche Mode-inspired influence; and, as the vocals meld with the synths, the saxophone starts in with a bit of electric guitar.

One could easily find this song in a movie from the ’80s or ’90s, where the scene would be the reminiscence of a past romance, or a moving memory of a special time and place.

Overall, this great piece of work can be enjoyed straight through. Every track is a unique blend of melodies and lyrics that create a finely crafted musical tapestry. RT

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