So I poured myself a glass of Andrew Rich Vitner and sat to listen to Bon Iver’s S/T, one of the albums I’ve been most looking forward to in 2011.
Having already heard “Calgary“, I had some sense of expectation. The music is layered, optimized between vocals, instruments, and even echoes, with the interplay of melody, which is spaced or rushed to display emotion. The emotion seems to be melancholy, reflection, or even hope. They are widdled together or buffed off or down, like an antique being primed for refinish. Sonically I hear spaces of Phil Collins (surprisingly), Don Henley, Sun Kil Moon, with the aid of autotune and a nod perhaps to the Byrds. In another surprise, I feel the newness of his sound harkens back the 80s. I’m having a hard time drawing the proper comparison, but parts of the album, and especially the final number, “Beth/Rest”, have this feel.
I remember seeing Bon Iver at 2009’s Sasquatch Festival. I knew of his music and was stoked to see him. I was surprised at how the songs seemed stronger and lingered heavier than the album, both in terms of lyric emotion and the grit of the music. I knew his catalog then. Later it became engrained in me, the kind of music you put on as a theme to your mood. The kind of music that seems seasonal in late fall or winter. Strangely, one of my favorite types.
This album seems cohesive, and should be absorbed together before culling out your standouts. It expands upon the past, but only in a familiar way. Soon I’m sure the songs will run together and the newness I hear today will be lost until I hear it again with a good set of headphones.
I’m excited to see him live this summer and hear these songs in a live setting.