Issue June 21, 2011

Bon Iver

Bon Iver
JAGJAGUWAR

Although Justin Vernon didn’t isolate himself in a cabin to write his new album, it does sound like he might have spent time on a boat studio with David Gilmour. There was no avoiding this follow-up to the much acclaimed For Emma, Forever Ago; by this time, he was already fooling with the use of auto-tune and unusual reverberations into his heartfelt folk songs. After taking inspiration in the studio from Kanye West and his side band Gayngs, Vernon approached with a full band complete with saxophone, keyboards and steel guitar. It’s been referenced as the Phil Collins effect, but it’s more in line with him just taking the parts that made For Emma a standout and broadening them. Bon Iver is a beautiful, enrapturing creation that evokes emotion not only through the high-low quiver that Vernon makes sound so effortless, but through its lush texture and pronunciation. It triggers some unusual blows along the heartstrings, paired with good notes and liquid melodies that make the experience a little less reclusive and more open — some place exactly where Bon Iver needs to be.