Review Summary: Just like a sherbet bomb; sweet on the outer, and brilliant within.
Candy. Who can resist it? Children yearn for it, adults sheepishly devour it. It’s the sweetness and heavenly texture that always keep us coming back for more, unless, of course you are a diabetic. Yet, we always seem to feel guilty for the love of our precious candy, as we all know that in the end, despite its rich yummy taste, overindulging can course a detriment to our health. When For Emma, Forever Ago
was released, it instantly became rejoiced and much loved as for many, its allure lay in how damned pretty it was, and was admired for the beauty, yet sadness of the story behind it. Yet, Bon Iver, Bon Iver
, the sophomore release from these Wisconsin indie folk musicians, is so different in many ways to For Emma...
but there is the most obvious differential, that this candy is better than any on earth.
When an album as good as For Emma...
is your debut, releasing another album that matches that standard of work is always going to be a daunting task. Nonetheless, with gorgeously layered out melodies and intricately buried harmonies, Bon Iver, Bon Iver
can easily be regarded as good as its predecessor but one must not get stuck on comparing these two pieces of art work, as they are completely and utterly contrasting in sounds, contexts and musicality.
Opener ‘Perth’ instantly states that this is going to be a different record, as the you are hit with an electric guitar and snare rolls and the undertones of Vernon’s vocals layered to death. Each song comes and goes with the beautifully played out structures and coherent song writing that we all expect from Vernon, but what we don’t expect are the dramatic and substantial shift in instrumentation that occurs throughout the album. ‘Towers’ for instance, showcases how new intricate instrumentation come and goes regularly. To describe the brilliance of this track is impossible, as its quaint guitar riff and heavenly orchestral section have to be heard to be appreciated.
Lyrically Vernon is as cryptic as ever, his story telling isn’t as clear or nostalgic as his folk counterparts, yet his words transfer many personal feelings:
“For the love, comes the burning young
From the liver, sweating through your tongue
Oh the sermons are the first to rest
Smoke on Sundays when you’re drunk and dressed
Out the hollows where the swallow nests”
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
is definitely an enjoyable listen. But it can be perceived as much more than that, as it intertwines and weaves through many touching, yet distant enigmas and moments of musical brilliance. It shows character for Bon Iver to write an album that is quintessentially completely different to whatever legacy For Emma...
had created, rather than trying to recreate the feelings he captured in that Hansel and Gretel log cabin of his, and that is a candy that no one can over indulge on.