Bon Iver - Blood Bank 12" EP

(Jagjaguwar, 2009)


“"Blood Bank" is, well, electric. Meaning that the opening track of Bon Iver's EP of the same name isn't, you know, acoustic. While usually an unremarkable descriptor for rock music, here it marks a notable departure for a songwriter whose sophomore release just can't be listened to without comparison to its predecessor, For Emma, Forever Ago. The song is a narrative: it speaks in Justin Vernon's usual nostalgic language, this time of first meetings and of identity reduced to the contents of plastic bags. The same layered, telescopic vocal stacks we’ve all come to expect from a Bon Iver record ring out, low chords sustain and taper and the song crescendos and clatters to a beautiful, chaotic ending. But now, during this track as well as the other three comprising the EP, new tonalities like piano and slide guitar not only supplement but make up the meat of the music. The record sounds, appropriately so, as if it were made by a band experimenting, rather than by one man alone, heartbroken, in his so-often-talked-about Wisconsin cabin.” - Julia Reidy for Paste