bon iver blood bank ep
  • FRIDAY, JANUARY 09, 2009

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Broken hearted bastards beware. Bon Iver has emerged with a brand new, albeit miniature, set of songs that's sure to tug on your most tattered of strings...but I'm guessing you'll actually be all for it. I know I am.

Pushing the same sort of sentiment as last year's most noteworthy of records (that of course being, For Emma, Forever Ago); Justin Vernon introduces The Blood Bank EP with an appropriate heartbeat pulse, and a mighty slow burn indeed. Here lay bags of blood, a never to be told secret, a parked car in the snow, and a lonely sort of romance. But the songwriter's pen ultimately holds back just enough to keep his listener's guessing as to what exactly is going on... a familiar Vernon tendency indeed.

The three remaining tracks are all equally impressive. "Beach Baby" brings with it the lyrics of an anguished getaway ("when you're out tell your lucky one/To know that you'll leave/Don't lock when you're fleeing/I'd rather not to hear keys"). To that, add the only intruder to the simple, acoustic sway; a gentle wave of peddle steel that coats the song in a sweet and supple lacquer. On "Babys", Vernon slides his now famous falsetto in and out of a cascading piano plunks. And "Woods" - the EP's auto-tuned finale - is the best Imogen Heap song Bon Iver's recorded to date.

It all makes for a rather validating kind of listen. Turns out fans of Bon Iver's atmospheric folk need not fret for the sophomore slump. Vernon's actually in fine shape, thank you very much. Now, let's hear album number two. - David Pitz

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