BUY | LOOK | METACRITIC
Such was the precision and individuality of Bon Iver’s debut record, For Emma, Forever Ago, in the lead up to the release of its follow-up there were one or two niggling questions about just how he would, or even could, follow it.
From the moment you hear Calgary, the track put up for download ahead of it’s release, you know you needn’t have worried. Both on this in particular track and across the record as a whole, Justin Vernon oozes confidence. His voice is heart-breakingly pure and slips effortlessly between an underestimated lower register and his now trademark falsetto.
With each song taking the name of a place – either real or made up – it’s an album of landscapes, both literal and musical, with washes of sound transporting you, inviting you to imagine these places. His lyrics across the record are used more for their sound rather than their meaning, which means that when a phrase pops out at you such as the ‘and I can see for miles, miles, miles…’ on the gorgeous Holocene they mean everything to the listener.
Bon Iver is a record that opens up almost every possibility to its makers. Lush and devastatingly beautiful, it did what many thought was impossible – it surpassed that colossal debut.