On last year’s For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver (a deliberate misspelling of the French, bon hiver, meaning “good winter”) created a mood that was deeply sad and utterly beautiful, and a sound that was strikingly original. On the first two tracks of their new four-song EP, Blood Bank, they don’t venture too far from that first sound. The third track, Babys, falters slightly with a monophonic piano intro which gets to be bothersome after a while, but then regains its composure with singer Justin Vernon’s ghost-like vocals entering in. The fourth track, Woods, differs the most from For Emma. Vernon repeats one lyric over and over for the entire song with eerie electronic vocal effects that’ll give you chills. Blood Bank is a foray into new territory for Bon Iver and I look forward to what the next good winter will bring.
Published in Volume 63, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 5, 2009)