Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review: Bon Iver - Blood Bank [EP] (* * * *)

There is something uniquely beautiful about everything Justin Vernon and Bon Iver touch. From the debut LP, For Emma, Forever Ago to the various covers and assorted singles floating around the 'net, Bon Iver have continued to impress and intrigue.

The Blood Bank EP is a collection of four songs recorded from the end of 2006 through the middle of last year. While not an entirely cohesive record, each tune expands subtly and successfully on the sound that Vernon crafted on his debut. The title track is warm and expressive, "Beach Baby" features some beautiful slide guitar, and "Babys" rides on jangling piano instead of mournful acoustic guitar. The final song, "Woods," is more of a complete departure, a choir of auto-tuned vocalists (probably all Vernon) and no instruments.

It wouldn't work for an album's worth of songs, but the exploration on Blood Bank makes for a captivating 17 minutes that will at least get everybody excited for the next record.