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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly Beautiful Music!
This album took me completely by surprise. I stumbled upon it via my love for Talk Talk's utterly sublime album "Spirit of Eden" and reading reviews of that which mentioned Bon Iver as having been influenced by that masterpiece.

It has just got so under my skin with its subtle musicality and Justin Vernon's natural progression from his hugely well-received...
Published on 11 Oct 2012 by Music lover

versus
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shame, could have been so much better.
Bought this on a five star recommendation in the press. This is an interesting and attractive, although not exceptional, work from a musical point of view. It is, however, let down by some very poor production values, particularly on the first track and impenetrable vocals throughout. I listened hard, both to the CD and to example tracks on iTunes, but the words of...
Published on 2 July 2011 by captain


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly Beautiful Music!, 11 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Audio CD)
This album took me completely by surprise. I stumbled upon it via my love for Talk Talk's utterly sublime album "Spirit of Eden" and reading reviews of that which mentioned Bon Iver as having been influenced by that masterpiece.

It has just got so under my skin with its subtle musicality and Justin Vernon's natural progression from his hugely well-received debut album "for Emma, Forever Ago" - a great album too.

But this album (the "difficult 2nd album") after such a cult success, is a natural progression of the searingly honest and painful emotions that made "For Emma" so important to so many people (check the reviews). It seems to me the sound of someone who is gradually healing and there's a more uplifting, full-bodied tone to most of these songs than the purposeful melancholy of "For Emma".

Whilst "Emma" is soft and delicate and mirrors the desolate iciness of where & when it was recorded this follow-up moves a similar but more vigorous and optimistic palette to what I feel is a much higher level of artistic accomplishment. He is helped in this by the absolutely superb array of musicians he has gathered around him.

The end result is an album that is a delight. But then it grows on you. And after repeated listens all the way through (it is one of those rare beasts ) you realise that this album and artist and band are going to remain a very important part of your musical life.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. One of my favourite albums ever - and I am 56 yrs old!! Solid gold 5 stars.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This album is like no other, 28 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Audio CD)
Trying to describe this album is like describing what water tastes of - impossible. Clichés were thrown around my head "a masterpiece" "hand-crafted by the Gods" but nothing prepares you for Bon Iver's second album, there is nothing I can compare it to & thus it is completely unique. Justin Vernon, pure of voice, master of the guitar and songwriter like no other brings together more than just conventional folk, more than just wailing falsetto echoes, he brings depth, beauty & magnificence in just the opening bars of the epic Perth. Songs named after USA states, some real, some fictitious (Hinnom, TX). The same nonsensical but powerful lyrics from days of For Emma, Forever Ago remain. Vernon isn't about to give up what makes Bon Iver such a phenomenon. Such bredth of instruments are moulded by Vernon, such a juxtaposition from For Emma where he recorded alone in a Wisconsin cabin with a guitar as his only friend. He's struck gold with bass sax, 2 drum kits, countless guitarists, percussion galore and not forgetting layer upon layer of fautless harmony, each spine-tingling note more compelling than the previous. Star track has to be `Beth/Rest', an almost cheesy synth filled 5 minutes of perfect harmonies and general wonder make this one of my favourite tracks of 2011. If you haven't already, check out this albums and you won't regret it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tenaciously Different, 8 April 2012
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M Wood - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Audio CD)
I've just heard this for the first time, and I have to say that my mind is a little blown by it. It seems impossible to categorise this album because it simply isn't like anything I've heard previously. It gives the impression of being utterly organic, deeply rooted in nature, and unconstrained by the formulas which dictate the progression of most music. Justin Vernon has created something impulsive, impenetrable and remarkable, an album which is bottomless but without a shade of artifice. It's not a particularly easy listen, but if you have any interest in innovative music then this comes highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new dimension, 14 May 2012
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Every once in a while something hits me & knocks me over. Bon Iver entitled album did this. I liked earlier stuff but then heard Calgary, track 8, & bought album & love it. especially driving in a car for some reason...........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon Iver - Second Album achieves double gold, 20 Jun 2011
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Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Audio CD)
They say never judge a book by its cover, but before playing Bon Iver's self titled second album dig out 2008s little marvel "For Emma Forever Ago" and compare the sleeves since they say much about the music within. On the latter you will see a darkened tree covered in an icy "white out", while on his new album are greener forests and blue lakes in the middle of which lurks a small white house and to the right two large swathes of red. It's like coming out of chill albeit into early spring as opposed to blazing summer. This is reflected in the music contained on Bon Iver 2 which is a ambitious and expansive follow up by Justin Vernon to a record that's occupies a special place for lovers of music. Equally it would be wrong to suggest any sharp break here as those of you in the interim who sought out the lovely album by his drummer Sean Carey "We all grow" or Vernon's 2009 EP "Blood bank" will recognise some very familiar themes.

Here the painful honesty and isolated log cabin melancholy of "For Emma" is thoroughly downplayed (although not absent) but this remains an instantly recognisable Bon Iver record not least because of the presence of his trademark falsetto as he announces on the superb opening track "Perth" that "I'm tearing up, across your face/Move dust through the light/To find your name/It's only faint". Granted there are real gear changes all over the album and this song starts with an achingly slow electric guitar but flowers into a beast of a song with military drumming and by its close Emeralds style power chords. "Perth" segues into Minnesota WI, which is a gentle but funky track which shows that Vernon's time spent with Kanye West has paid off. The third track "Holocene" is probably the song on here that could have slipped onto "For Emma". It is a lush delight gently powered by Vernon's voice and beautiful guitar phrasing. As a starting trilogy these songs amount to a brilliant opening fusillade. Next up "Towers" is what could be described as straightforward Bon Iver song but "Michicant" follows it with exquisite textures and shimmers along making it an absolute standout. Throbbing synths and chanting follow next on "Hinnom TX" which picks up some Blood Bank themes, while the song "Wash" is full of opulent but hushed piano ballad interspersed with violins.

Many will have already heard the single "Calgary" and seen the watery dream like video on a song which powers up to a tremendous crescendo only to gently fade out. Trying to find different ways of saying "lovely" is becoming pointless because that what it is and it deserves widespread radio play as much as all good people deserve a big lottery win. It is followed by the slight instrumental "Lisbon OH" which has an almost Eno style ambience and then by the albums closer "Beth/Rest" which could end up splitting the jury. On first hearing this reviewer felt that it had a bad case of 1980s Bruce Hornsby schmaltz or could be one of those horrible soundtrack "Celtic" songs which producers use on documentaries about Scotland, Ireland or Wales. It does get better on repeated listens and for many this may well be the albums highlight. Yet having listened recently to Vernon's inspired cover of Peter Gabriel's "Come talk to me" suggests that perhaps a better and more apt conclusion was already recorded? Ultimately you will decide. In any case it's a small slip in an album that truly is a thing of beauty and which cements Justin Vernon's reputation as one of the finest songwriters in indie music, and the Bon Iver band who have turned into a very special unit. Perhaps in early listens this album does lack a "Re Stacks" moment of jaw dropping acoustic simplicity, but it makes up for this with an expansive set of songs that reveal more on every listen. Taken as a whole Bon Iver is an instant joy that we should warmly celebrate and speak of in hushed tones.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easily one of the best albums i've ever heard, 7 Jan 2012
This review is from: Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Audio CD)
This album is without doubt one of the best I have ever listened to. The way you can discover something new upon each listen is mesmerising and goes to show the sheer amount of effort and pure musical talent that went into the album. There is not a faultless track, with each offering a range of unique sounds alongside deeper meaning upon close listening. The sheer magnitude and scope of this album is unprecedented, partly due to it's ability to effortlessly evoke your emotions through the ethereal, tangible music and the stunning authenticity of Justin Vernon's voice. Listening to this transports you to a place of brilliant scenery which has never been achieved before personally. For those who dislike this or simply don't get it, check out professional reviews, as they speak volumes and show just how amazing this peice of music really is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just lovely., 16 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Bon Iver (MP3 Download)
I love this album. I would recommend it to anyone who loves peaceful, tranquil music that also has a lot of heart.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bon Iver Masterclass, 27 Jan 2014
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Absolutely outstanding album.
Better than Emma Forever in my view.
I have to ration my listening to it so I don't tire of it.
Listened to it a couple of summers ago driving through Vermont, very moving.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential buy, 1 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Audio CD)
Came to this via Fleet Foxes, and has become a regular listen, and a permanent part of my music collection
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bon Iver, 25 Sep 2013
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Bought for my wife as a present. This has been on her wish list for a while. She loves it :-)
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