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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Volcano Choir - Erupting
If the name Bon Iver conjures up a musical image of high falsetto over gentile melancholy then "Repave" the new album by Volcano Choir will come as a surprise. This band are a mix of both the songwriting skills of Justin Vernon and members of the indie folk outfit Collections of Colonies of Bees and now sound less like a side project and more of a fully formed rock unit...
Published 15 months ago by Red on Black

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hugely disappointing mediocre songs played by extremely good musicians
Having seen Justin Vernon play won of the most brilliant and mesmerising sets of my entire life, on the main stage at Green Man 2009, I have come to expect a lot from the great man and his ever expanding live ensemble.
The problem is that surrounding yourself with no amount of very fine and talented musicians, will not help or improve the quality of the songs, if...
Published 10 months ago by A. R. McTaggart


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Volcano Choir - Erupting, 9 Sep 2013
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Repave (Audio CD)
If the name Bon Iver conjures up a musical image of high falsetto over gentile melancholy then "Repave" the new album by Volcano Choir will come as a surprise. This band are a mix of both the songwriting skills of Justin Vernon and members of the indie folk outfit Collections of Colonies of Bees and now sound less like a side project and more of a fully formed rock unit. The album has Vernon trading crunching riffs and singing in deep tones but for those of you who loved the Bon Iver project and particularly his more expansive second album there is nothing on "Repave" which will grate or irritate. Indeed there are some mighty good songs contained therein and with the "Bon Iver" project essentially on hold or even drawing to a close this is a very worthy new direction and a considerable step up from 2009s more experimental "Unmap".

Check out the brilliant opener "Tiderays" builds from a church like organ to gentle acoustics followed by biting guitars giving a firm foundation to its rich choruses. You could of course pick the vocals out of a line up, however it is a deeper timbre that Vernon uses on "Acetate" which is considerably assisted by the massed voices of his colleagues guitarist Chris Rosenau and drummer Jon Mueller where they all declare "But I won't beg for you on acetate/I won't crawl on you to validate". The song "Batpack" is the first single off the album although it is "Alaskans" which steals the show as the albums centre-point. Here Vernon alternates between baritone and his smallest falsetto. The song appears to touch all bases of human emotion not least concluding with a sample of Charles Bukowski reading a poem from a documentary shown on French television. The most un Bon Iver moment here is "Dancepack" rooted with the lyric "Take note/there is still a hole in your heart" it is powerful and would not be out of kilter on a Arcade Fire album. Finally the big closer to the album is the six minute plus "Almanac" which shift shapes all over the musical map and is meaty multi layered anthem well deserving of the download button.

On the evidence of "Repave" Volcano Choir are no mere footnote to another more well known musical collective. Vernon himself has openly stated that he only played one guitar riff on the whole album and the presence of an experienced and expert band of musicians has allowed him to concentrate on lyrics and vocals. The result is a lush layered album with echoes of that expansive Canadian Rock of bands like Broken Social Scene but with enough of Vernon's distinctive musical trademarks to demand that you watch in awe as the volcano erupts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the Year for me, 19 Oct 2014
This review is from: Repave (Audio CD)
This album was definitely the album of the year for me and has gone straight into my top 1. I have listened to it many many a time and I'm still not tired of it. The beauty of Vernon's voice with the epic expanse of sound in the background from the band - I think it's a wonderful creation. This album is filled with intrique, huge choruses and moments that are just sublime. It's been brilliantly worked and mixed. Some reviewers have said about the lyrics being poor, but to be honest, I like them and have never bothered to look too deep into them. And directionless?? No way - this album is strong from start to finish, and it flows beautifully from song to song. In my eye, it's a very well structured, focused album. In comparison to Unmap, it's very different. The same sounds have been brought through, but put into more traditional, less experimental, rockier songs. Think of Still on Unmap - that's the sort of sound on this album. But better. :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Repave [VINYL] (Vinyl)
My best album of 2013, great from start to finish.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Highly reminiscent of classic 80's New Romantic bands such as Japan, Bauhaus etc ... well to me anyway., 26 Jan 2014
By 
Sáss Alæssí (Congleton. Cheshire East, England) - See all my reviews
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Another group I fell into by accident and really kinda difficult to pigeon hole because they follow a single path. These guys are off on weird and wonderful journeys of their own but seriously do remind me very heavily of 80's bands such as Japan and Bauhaus for example.
I completely dig the 80's vibe something rotten so for me a real catch.
If you buy this, take it with an open mind and listen to them a few times to get their vibe in yer bones. But no matter what, enjoy my friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Under-rated and amazing, 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Repave (Audio CD)
This is up there with Bon Iver's best but seems to have slipped under the radar. Brilliant from start to finish. Epic, stirring but also intricate and human...
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is the local music scene, global, 4 Dec 2013
By 
T. RAULT-SMITH (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I had heard of Justin Vernon, like most people, because of Bon Iver, but despite following other post rock bands, hadn't come across Collections of Colonies of Bees before. This album melds the two styles together to deliver a mature sound that stands up to repeated listening. I jumped at the chance to see them perform in Bristol as soon as they announced their November 2013 tour dates, and I was not disappointed. They played a couple of new songs which suggests further releases are in the works.

From what I hear, Justin is not in any hurry to revive Bon Iver now that he has this new outlet for his work. It's been fascinating to trace his career and those of the people he's been working with (such as Sean Carey) and the many different projects they contribute to. The "norm" when I was a lad was for bands to form, release a few albums and then for the singer to go solo; these guys prove that it's possible to follow a different path (and paths) which comes across as much less marketing and record company led, but, instead, authentic and personal.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent songs, dodgy lyrics, 7 Nov 2013
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Being a part-fan of Vernon's Bon Iver output, and not being overwhelmed by the first VC album I was surprised and delighted by the music on Repave. The lyrics don't bare too close a scrutiny, but they work as part of the musical landscape. Very good.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon Iver?, 4 Sep 2013
By 
Ian Williamson (Aberdeen Scotland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Repave (Audio CD)
A good album to buy while you wait for the next Bon Iver record, very nice indeed so much better than the first album much and more accessable. Try Acetate; Comrade; Byegone or the highlight the excellent Almanac....but there is not a bad track on this record. So a must for Bon Iver fans or even Midlake for that matter, recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Repave [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Beautiful album, even better on Vinyl.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Can't get enough of Justin Vernon, 2 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Repave (Audio CD)
I will keep this short and sweet !! Not a disappointing track on the album. Sound and production is superb. Hope the boys tour the UK, a must see live I would imagine. Thank you Volcano Choir !!!
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