Blood Bank - EP
Bon Iver (a.k.a. Justin Vernon) made a big, unexpected splash in 2008 with From Emma, Forever Ago, a gorgeous backwoods acoustic gem with real emotional power. The first three songs on Blood Bank would have fit on From Emma, which is a compliment, yet this is much more than a brief set of outtakes (in fact, they were recorded at a different time). There are certainly similarities to his debut, but only in that it features many of the same elements that made the first release so impressive — moving melodies, gentle guitar, and that stunning, and usually multi-tracked, falsetto. “Woods” is the odd man out here, and it’s a risk that works. On it, he uses a digital effect on his voice and then proceeds to add layer after layer of synthesized vocal harmonies until it builds into something cinematic and strangely beautiful. It may not become everyone’s favorite cut, but it’s a worthy and refreshing experiment that’s different from anything else he’s done thus far. Blood Bank fully stands on its own merits, and it’s to his credit that it sounds like a distinct piece of work rather than extension of another one.