Album Review: Bon Iver – “Blood Bank EP”


blood-bak-coverBon Iver’s Sophmore effort, following the magnificent 2008 release “For Emma, Forever Ago” changes pace in certain spots, trading the beautiful vocals for Weezy-esque auto tuning. I know, a big step (forward or back?) for a guy who was so unbelievably harmonic and damn near perfect on his first album. As far as the auto tuning goes, and if those tracks are successful or not, it’s sort of a wash. The scratchy guitar and minimal backup instruments still amaze, despite being slightly repetitive of the first album, but the vocals bring down what would otherwise be an amazing EP. “Woods” and “Babys,” the two tracks the Justin Vernon goes lil wayne on your ass, are the low point of the album, like I mentioned, but the other two tracks, “Blood Bank” and “Beach Baby” pick up exactly where Emma left off. The title and lead track “Blood Bank” is arguably Vernon’s best track to date, drifting along with beautiful vocals, heart-wrenching lyrics, and the usual acoustic minimalism. “Beach Baby” sounds like something from an old Pet Sounds cut, and while it obviously isn’t, it again changes pace a little from the usual back-woods Wisconsin folk. Dropping the vocals and picking up the pace of the song a little bit, Bon Iver takes a short little trip down instrumental lane, if only for two and a half minutes. 

Not much else to this review, seeing as it’s just an EP. It’s definitely worth checking out though, for fans of his past material or for someone who’s never heard the greatest thing to come out of Eau Claire county since ever (maybe). If nothing else, at least give “Blood Bank” a spin, it’ll give any new fan the best idea of what Vernon is all about, and what made “For Emma, Forever Ago” one of the best albums of last year. 

6 abandoned wintry woods out of 10

mp3: Bon Iver – “Blood Bank” from the Blood Bank EP. Out 1/20 on Jagjaguwar records.

Dig Deeper: Bon Iver’s Myspace, Official Site, Wiki

2 Responses to “Album Review: Bon Iver – “Blood Bank EP””

  1. Man, I think the exact opposite of you. The first two tracks are the throwaways from Emma, while the next two (I think) show where he’s going to go next. It’s good anyway.

  2. ericbandloveaffair Says:

    Yeah i definitely see what you mean as far as the whole progression thing, but I guess I’m just not personally a fan of it, at least not yet. I usually hate things before I love them.

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