TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2016 |
Posted by: Don Saas
Bon Iver resurfaced quite recently with a 7-year-old track which predates their self-titled album, through several b-sides coming from bands who will perform at Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival this year. The track has much more of a full-bodied, melancholic sound than does Justin Vernon's earlier work on For Emma, Forever Ago. Combining his well-done choral work with layered string sections which seem to dwindle and drift in and out of rhythm, it's hard to imagine how a track with such character and distinct sound didn't make the cut for the self-titled album.
The track builds, as Vernon's voice transitions from somber and straightforward to a multi-layered chorus full of his classic whispery, falsetto sound. As instruments fade in and out, some somber, gospel-style piano chords with a solid rhythm remain at the forefront of a track in which all sorts of arrangements between instruments are made, deconstructed, and brought back again in ways which transform the song midway through.
Vernon's technical ability when it comes to studio technique embellishes his work in order to create soundscapes which give his otherwise simplistic yet resonant folk style a haunting and dreamlike quality, and "Haven, Mass" is a shining example of this. While this is the first surfacing of anything new that Bon Iver has had in the works (minus a performance at Eaux Claires last summer of new tracks), it's always a pleasure to hear songs which artists have long since abandoned or forgotten about. "Haven, Mass" has quickly created a splash among loyal Bon Iver fans who haven't heard much at all of Justin Vernon's work in quite some time, and this was worth the wait.