Style: Falsetto-heavy, experimental indie-pop; compare to Volcano Choir, Gayngs, Bruce Hornsby

Top tracks: "Perth," "Calgary," "Holocene"

For Emma, Forever Ago—the debut from Justin Vernon's Bon Iver—grew from a self-released album recorded in a Wisconsin hunting cabin to an indie-folk behemoth. Vernon's rustic acoustic and gorgeous, layered falsetto eventually led him to a Kanye West collab and a Twilight soundtrack spot. For the much anticipated follow-up, Vernon did away with the woodsy vibe, opting instead for satin-smooth electric guitars, keys, strings and synth; these rich soundscapes are just as beautiful. Vernon's poetry is more impressionist than straightforward (with a couple stray F-bombs), so while there's nothing in-your-face spiritual about Bon Iver, there's a palpable vulnerability and reliance on love's redemptive power.

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Bon Iver
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
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Artist
Release Date
June 21, 2011
Label
JAGJAGUWAR
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