I'm probably the only person in the world who didn't find Bon Iver's debut For Emma, Forever Ago that impressive. I didn't understand what the fuss was about; I thought the story of Justin Vernon's writing of it wasn't that mythic, especially when the story started to eclipse the actual content of the record. Rule of thumb: details of a creation should never outweigh the finished product. A nice story doth not true talent make.
But I'm a fair individual, and I must admit that my interest was subsequently piqued having heard the title track from the new EP, Blood Bank. It's a pretty interesting country-rocker that doesn't actually rock, but that's okay; it's still a catchy number, and Vernon's singing is both strong and engaging. It's a natural progression, especially since Bon Iver is now a BAND. The next song, "Beach Baby," isn't a cover of First Class, but it is a first class downbeat folk number, even if it fades out too early. "Babys" is minimalist piano playing one chord with some really gorgeous falsetto-ish singing. I like it. A lot. "Woods" is a vocoder-laden acappella song, and it's utterly beautiful; he goes all Beach Boys towards the end, and I'm like WOW, this is amazing stuff!
So for those skeptics about the hype around their debut, Blood Bank is a wonderful little record that shows there's a real talent to be found here. Cynicism be damned.
Listen To: "Blood Bank"
Blood Bank is available now on Jagjaguwar
Labels: Bon Iver, Jagjaguwar, Reviews b