Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bon Iver - Bon Iver (2011)

There's not much I can say about Bon Iver to people that already love them. But for the record: Bon Iver is a band, not a person (that because a lot of people mistake Justin Vernon with Bon Iver). These guys have been working a lot for the last years on separate projects or collaborating with other artists, like the song in the eclipse soundtrack with St. Vincent, the 2010 buzz worthy collaboration with Kanye West in not one but two songs, and also Justin’s electronic side project Vulcano Choir and S. Carey’s solo album; everything showing different faces of the Bon Iver talent.

Talking about Bon Iver self titled release will never be like talking about the previous releases just because the amount of fame and respect they’ve been getting since “For Emma, Forever Ago” make them a different caliber of artistry. That said, is normal that the buzz around this album overshadow everything that was good in “For Emma, Forever Ago” and over appreciate everything that good in “Bon Iver”.

For this album they play with every influence they’ve had in the past, it’s still Bon Iver being Bon Iver, but all the production tweaks inherited of Vulcano Choir adding a little electronic stuff and pumping up the variety in instrumentation. The opener “Perth” for example, it has the same song structure of old familiar Bon Iver songs starting slow, building up and then chilling down, the typical Bon Iver crescendo but this time around with a lot more of horns and instrumentation. And then you take the second song “Minnesota, WI” and do exactly the same but with electronic synths mixing with a banjo and some 80’s sounding sexy saxophone and electric guitars.

“Bon Iver” is bigger in terms of production and sound quality but in the same time some songs miss the intimacy that the acoustic simple songs tend to have in “For Emma, Forever Ago”. I can’t help to be a little bit on the fence in the case of taking the bigger Bon Iver as the better one, it is indeed a good album, I’d never say that is the best of the year (like Pitchfork pretends to be saying up to this point), but it is really a good album. I really loved how they included in every song a little bit of horns and sexy saxophones, this details make the LP more pop oriented and maybe that’s why it loses a little bit of intimacy.

None the less, I’m not resisting to the change and I’m sure it will grow on me, and even though is not the best album of the year it’s up there with the ones that stand out.


1. Perth
2. Minnesota, WI
3. Holocene
4. Towers
5. Michicant
6. Hinnom, TX
7. Wash.
8. Calgary
9. Lisbon, OH
10. Beth / Rest

Rate: 8.5/10