Bon Iver

For Emma, Forever Ago

BY Chris WhibbsPublished Feb 19, 2008

Self-released last year, it took very little time for Justin Vernon’s heartbreak and yearning to make their way around the interweb and create some sizable buzz. Thus, sounding a little cleaner, and with some nature appropriate artwork, we can all get a slice of Vernon’s remarkable compositions. Just like Iron & Wine, Vernon takes the singer-songwriter genre and warps it to fit his own unique musical sensibility. Opener "Flume” is one of the best showcases for Vernon’s shape shifting voice, as he moves from his lovely falsetto to a croon and back again with limitless ease. Vernon moves into the sublime category though when he leaps out from your speakers and drags you into his headspace and turmoil via his innate skills in phrasing and layering. Perfection is handily achieved on "The Wolves (Act I and II),” where the slow build and slight electronic voice tweaking chip away at the heart with every strum and elongated vocal. Yes, this is all delicate, even ephemeral, but Vernon comes at this tired genre with fresh and ambitious eyes, making this an extremely assured and breathtakingly beautiful debut that’s more experienced than merely heard.

Latest Coverage