The new Bon Iver has hit the internet.
I heard the single "Calgary" just yesterday and, like Jon, had initial reservations. However, I have a track record for drastically underrating albums that prove to be terrific: The Suburbs; High Violet: The Wild Hunt... my utter lack of musical foresight has been fairly consistent.
When Jon alluded to Phil Collins in relation to the new Bon Iver I was a little taken aback. But not nearly as stunned as when I made my way through to the last track on the album. It has literally left me speechless. It's like Phil Collins took some pretty Justin Vernon vocals and then regurgitated elevator muzac all over them. I think I can even hear a saxophone in there... or at least a clarinet. Oh my, could it be both?? Hard to tell through the layers of 80s power ballad synth. Maybe it's a joke track? Irony? You be the judge...
For the love of god, why didn't somebody stop them?
Needless to say, the album is very different to For Emma. Pleasant but insubstantial, on initial listens. I also don't understand why they're still going crazy with the vocal overdubbing - every track has Vernon's voice layered 10 times. Sure, do that when you're recording alone on a cabin with a laptop but now? I'm going to give it a few more listens. After all, the cover art is very pretty and he did give us Re. Stacks and Skinny Love... I'm calling it early on Beth/Rest, though: that track is gobsmackingly awful.
Jon has now written a full album review here. I second everything that he says. Maybe Vernon really did do it all for the Glory of Love.
***POST SCRIPT*** 8th MARCH 2012
For anyone who finds themselves on this page by searching for Bon Iver's saxophonist (and Blogger tells me there are a lot of you), his name is COLIN STETSON. Having just seen him perform live tonight (Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne), I would like to retract the negative implications this post may have made about him eg. "Bad Sax" in the title. He is an incredible player, demonstrated by a killer solo midway that was nothing like what 80s rock songs would lead us to believe it should sound like. That said, Bon Iver's Bon Iver is still not the album for me.