17 June 2013

17th June - Bon Iver's Bon Iver

Artist – Album: Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Released:  17th June 2011

Sounds Like: Now we are old

My legs are grey. My ears are gnarled. My eyes are old and bent... Increasingly as I get older, and especially as it was just my birthday yesterday, I look at what other people in the world have done and wonder what I’ve done with my life. I mean, granted, I do have a decent job, a nice flat in a great city and a great little rickety old car, and I have seen all of the films in the imdb top 250 movies of all time, but in comparison to some of my peers, that really ain’t all that.

On the other hand, it’s not yet too late to really achieve something special. Back in 2006 Bon Iver founder, singer and chief songwriter Justin Vernon was my age now. His band DeYarmond Edison (now that’s a rubbish name) had just dissolved and, even better, he and his girlfriend also broke up. He probably wasn’t feeling particularly great. He decided to run away to a cabin in Wisconsin, lock himself up and record all his thoughts on his failings, his heartache, his love and his loss. ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’, the result, is now one of the most widely acclaimed records of the 21st century and one of the all time great breakup albums. So, clearly, that sort of success isn’t quite beyond me yet...

Presumably life picked up a bit for Vernon following that surprise hit, so the next big dilemma must have been what to do next. It’s commendable that he didn’t just try to live off the remembered depression and release ‘For Emma’ #2. Instead, he expanded on their sound and left his little log cabin to explore the wider world (check out the amount of songs with cool place names in the title), bring on a change of sound which reminds me of John Martyn’s One World. It’s like the album artwork itself depicts – the little cabin is now away in the background, colour has been splashed all over and there’s a variety of different pastoral locations on display. ‘Perth’, ‘Towers’ and ‘Holocene’ are the best examples of the extraordinary outcome, dense with atmospheric synths, electric guitars and his beautiful voice. I’m looking forward to bringing out my own similarly awesome album in 5 years time.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Perth – 4:22
2.       Minnesota, WI – 3:52
3.       Holocene – 5:37
4.       Towers – 3:08
5.       Michicant – 3:45
6.       Hinnom, TX – 2:45
7.       Wash. – 4:59
8.       Calgary – 4:10
9.       Lisbon, OH – 1:33
10.   Beth/Rest – 5:17

Also released on the 17th June:
2003: Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day
Also released on the 17th June: 
2008: Tilly and the Wall – O

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