It’s 4 am, and I’m listening to Bark Psychosis and some free jazz simultaneously using two separate media players.
Also: the new Bon Iver EP leaked a couple of days ago.
I’m rather unimpressed.
The title track Blood Bank is pretty nice, and the spacey reveb’d out electric guitars at the end put a smile on my face. The vocal line is a little repetitive, having only one memorable melody line, and lacking
but the rest of it is pretty much abysmal.
Beach Baby has some sort of Country/Hawaiian slide guitar solo. I can barely make it through the end of the track without giving up, it just sounds so wildly out of place in an extremely distasteful fashion.
However, the worst offender is clearly the last track, the A-Capella Woods. It’s 5 minutes long, and has two lines. Instead of Justin Vernon’s trademark strained falsetto, however, we get auto-tuned crap. It ends up sounding almost like organ music due to the perfect steady pitch provided by this extremely over-hyped, ubiquitous bit of studio processing. The piece is heavily layered, each repetition of the single two part phrase gaining additional harmony. The layering is pleasant, certainly, but it totally fails to provide enough substance to hold my interest over repeated listens.
So, of 4 tracks, 1 is acceptable, 2 are horrid, and one is so mediocre I didn’t even bother mentioning it.
Given that the first record by Bon Iver was one of my favourites last winter, I’m really disappointed.
I hate it.
It’s boring, it has no movement, and entirely lacks the subtlety, emotion and inspiration of 2007′s For Emma, Forever Ago.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s safe to say that the magic was in that cabin in Wisconsin.
[If it wasn't obvious, I totally despise auto-tune and it's incredible ability to suck the life out of vocal performances. The reason I find Justin Vernon's voice so compelling is his lack of perfection, his human flaws; If I wanted to hear vocoders, I'd listen to Daft Punk.]