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    Bon Iver

    for emma, forever ago

    For Emma, Forever Ago 8 ( 2008 )
    Flume / Lump Sum / Skinny Love / The Wolves (Act I and II) / Blindsided / Creature Fear / Team / For Emma / Re: Stacks / Wisconsin

    He sings in a whisper that's floating at you across hilltops. He strums guitar softly and fairly basically. The first comparison that comes to mind is with Jose Gonzalez yet it's not as simple as that. 'For Emma, Forever Ago' is a lot less straightforward overall than to compare Bon Iver's strumming to Jose's more impressive guitar patterns. Bon Iver make up for this 'lack' by way of slow, gentle arrangements - the slower the better often in his case. He also makes great use of a variety of instrumentation that rarely sounds like real instruments, rather noises he found in the woods and made his own. There's a special beauty about this record that's hard to pin down. It's very introspective yet also of an observing nature, but apparently observing small details. There's sadness here and loss, yet love in the heart of the music. It's a cliche perhaps, but this really is a slow-burner of an album - the melodies primarily provided by his subtle vocals and even subtler guitar strums inevitably taking time to sink in - and even to comprehend what's he's trying to do.

    The title track, 'For Emma' is impossibly lovely, lonesome, loving and liable to capture something within you. What may have been deeply personal is now oblique enough in terms of delivery at least that it's universal. Particularly with the haunting sounds contained within 'For Emma'. 'Wisconsin' is the quietest track here, perhaps the most haunting and desolate and also the 'most opposite' of what gets in the charts these days. It saddens me that the vast majority of Nickleback fans, let's say, will never know the likes of this exists. Bon Iver's 'For Emma, Forever Ago' is just so different to the hustle and bustle of the modern day world. It's every individual's own private personal escape.

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    Readers Comments

    Gazza Edinburgh
    Its very much flavour of the month with the uk music scene at the moment but i remain underwhelmed . It would have made a decent EP in my opinion as his trebly high pitched wail of a voice does not hold my attention for a whole album . its a real shame cos "blindsided" and "skinny love" are undeniably pretty , but you cant help feeling that theirs no evidence this guy will prosper musically . Iron and wine and elliott smith did this kind of thing much better . You cant shake the overrall feeling of artifice , that these are love songs for men whove never touched a woman .

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    this page last updated 10/05/09

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