Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bon Iver: Blood Bank [EP]

Artist: Bon Iver
Album: Blood Bank [EP]
Date Released: January 12, 2009
Genre: indie, alternative, singer/songwriter
Rating: 7.1

Review: It was probably a good idea for Bon Iver to release an EP after their wildly successful debut, For Emma Forever Ago. It's time for the band to take stock and plan for a sophomore release that will undoubtedly be met with unfair expectations; Blood Bank gives Justin Vernon the chance to try a few things out as he plans for #2.

The title track is pleasant and pretty, but its production is weak and sounds like something that should have been left on the cutting room floor. "Beach Baby" is very For Emma-esque and features a beautiful pedal steel outro -- but it's painfully short. Blood Bank starts to get interesting with "Babys" as the band brings in some percussive piano, followed by Vernon's laid back harmonizing; there's no urgency here as the band makes some great use of open space. "Woods" is easily the most experimental of the 4 tracks; Vernon channels all the vocals through a voice processor giving the song a soulful quality that's otherwise absent on the album.

If Blood Bank offers any indication as to what Bon Iver is up to, it's that they're not going to depart too radically from their initial sound. Given that so many artists 'crank up the band' after a mellow and gentle introduction, this will be a welcome and refreshing thing.

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