Bon Iver -‘Bon Iver’ (4AD)
Justin Vernon’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago became both a critical and commercial hit when it was released in 2008. A start and beautful record (boy loses girl but certainly not talent), how to follow it up? Well, by not making it feel that the sophomore album has to be part two, for starters.
See, what Vernon has managed to do is to create a record that’s a lovely as its predecessor but where that album was stripped down, this album has gorgeous textures. Epic album opener ‘Perth’ sets the tone, building from quiet beginnings into something loud and beautiful. On paper (given what the last album was like), maybe it shouldn’t work. Yet the whole album does – even the slightly eighties keyboard sounds on album closer ‘Beth/Rest’ which should seem awful somehow feels rather lovely. Other album highlights include ‘Wash’ and ‘Lisbon, OH’ but the entire album works as a whole.
Lightning has most definitely struck twice. A difficult second album? Not to these ears…