Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Finally I'm writing reviews for another publication (unfortunately the previous place is on hiatus) Here's a sneak peek and one that will be published.

Winter Wonderland

Bon Iver – For Emma, forever ago ( 2007 – self released, reissue 2008)

4AD, Jagjaguwar

Back in 2006, when Justin Vernon’s (aka Bon Iver) life was going down the crapper in every single way, he did what no person would probably do ;

He went to a log cabin in the middle of the woods, for four months and recorded some songs describing his problems. Eventually these recordings would be the basis for his debut album; For Emma Forever ago.

The album as an outlet for one’s deepest darkest feeling does have many drawbacks. Usually the main offender is that the emote factor is so heavy that it prevents the listener from fully appreciating the album as it is difficult to relate to.

Luckily Vernon is fully conscious of this and adds accessible sounding melodies to his tales of woe. Don’t get me wrong, these are not tunes you kick your heels to, but neither are they songs which make you want to end your life for good. There is soul searching, there are moments of darkness and yet there are rays of light shining through this mire and it seems that Vernon is assuring you that life does get better.

It’s also quite cleverly crafted. Basically the album does consist of one man and his guitar, which creates a sense of intimacy, then the unexpected happens and sometimes a trumpet will appear out of nowhere (For Emma) or a thumping beat will sneak it’s way in (Lump Sum) or Vernon will double track his voice (Creature Fear) all which add to the type of coziness you associate with your favourite quilt on a winter’s day. Not to mention that the guy has one hell of a voice somewhere between a high pitched squeal and an angry bellow, he can fluctuate it (best seen on the track ‘Skinny Love’) and is what gives the record it’s distinctive feel.

Cliched conclusions like ‘album of the year’ and ‘you must listen to this record’ will abound a plenty here and to be honest Vernon deserves. Naked emotional honesty mixed with a clutch of good tunes. It all adds up if you ask me.

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