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Bon Iver

Bon Iver

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Album Review

Part of the beauty of Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, was the intimate, backwoods feel of the recording and the simplicity of Justin Vernon's soaring, open wound of a voice with only minimal musical backing to distract from its impact. After a couple years in which his life was turned upside down thanks to the success of For Emma, Vernon’s second album is quite different. Where For Emma was stripped down and intimate, Bon Iver is packed with guest musicians, horn sections, strings, and extra vocalists. Within the expanded arrangements, there are still moments of tender beauty: the relatively restrained "Wash.," which pits Vernon’s aching vocal orchestra against a jagged, repeating piano line (and only minimal strings and pedal steel); the first two-thirds of "Holocene," and the simple and affecting "Michicant."

Biography

Formed: 2007 in Eau Claire, WI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Justin Vernon began recording under the nom de band Bon Iver following the breakup of DeYarmond Edison, an indie folk group similar in tone and manner to Iron & Wine, Little Wings, and — to a certain extent — Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Vernon's solo project took DeYarmond Edison's introspective, folky sound and embellished it with squinchy, quirky orchestral touches that nodded to Sparklehorse and the drifty optimism of the Flaming Lips. Vernon moved back to Wisconsin the winter following...
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