Monday, 19 January 2009
After the success of Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago last year it’s going to be interesting to see how this (old-school) EP does. It’s heartening (to me) that it’s being kept as an EP in its own right, and hasn’t been tagged on to the album (as seems to be the trend for many labels these days with cash-in deluxe editions).
So what’s it like? Well I’m pleased to say that it’s largely very good. Side A (I got the fine 12inch version) in particular is excellent – opening with the title track, it looks lyrically toward the more hopeful and redemptive side of For Emma, and couples it with a bigger, more fleshed out band sound. This expansive step is then countered by ‘Beach Baby’ which is a lovely, quiet, acoustic track, reminiscent of Elliott Smith, with a gorgeous, minimalist guitar solo.
Side B is more complicated – the opening ‘Baby’s’ sounds worryingly like a Coldplay track, as the bigger, band sound comes over as bombastic and un-original, with none of the feel and atmosphere of the title track. This is hopefully a mis-step and not an (arena) avenue he and the band will be pursuing. The closing track is the a-capella ‘Into the Woods’, a four line poem repeated in harmony that made a stunning opening to their gig but here suffers slightly by the use of vocoder, something I’ve always hated. That said, it remains a fascinating piece of music - reminiscent of some of the stranger tracks from David Crosby’s glorious If I Could Only Remember My Name – which ends this EP on a high note. Recommended.