Top critical review
Hugely disappointing mediocre songs played by extremely good musicians
on 26 January 2014
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 none of those musicians are gifted songwriters. Collections of colonies of Bees, may well be good musicians, but top drawer songwriters they most certainly are not. The alarm bells started to ring when I first heard Beth / Rest and wondered whether I was listening to Bon Iver or Toto ( who actually could write and arrange high quality MOR songs ). Where Unmap stumbled around, experimenting with a lot of different ideas actually created some magical moments. Repave delivers a mediocre album made by an artist struggling for direction and inspiration. There is nothing on this record that even comes close to matching the magic of "For Emma, Forever Ago" and sadly this falls a long way short of the very fine fine " Bon Iver" follow up.
Volcano Choirs debut album Unmap was an interesting experiment and credit to the man for exploring new territory, but, Repave suggest limitations in Justin Vernons song writing abilities and he should perhaps chose his collaborators more carefully or stick to the more simplistic acoustic "folk" of his debut album. If you send me your address, I will happily forward the CD to you FOC as it simply doesn't cut the mustard for me, and is an over rated disappointment.