Bon Iver - Flume
We've all had that feeling; when things get on top of you and you wish you could escape somewhere and shut the world away. After the break up of his long time band, DeYarmond Edison, Justin Vernon removed himself to a remote cabin in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin for four months over winter. He spent his days splitting wood and generally working the land and in this isolation and contemplation recorded the bulk of this extraordinary album.
Bon Iver is a corruption of the French for 'good winter' and the recording of this album has clearly been a cathartic experience for Vernon. It is filled with love, loss and emotion and with its starting point of a man alone with his thoughts and a guitar the album actually builds into something far larger. I mean this literally with the addition of extra vocals and instruments on tracks like Flume and For Emma but elsewhere, with the layering of his own voice Vernon creates a surprisingly full sound and with necessity the mother of invention the album contains some musical surprises too, this isn't just an album of folky guitar strumming.
On most tracks Vernon employs a falsetto but his range is much wider on tracks like Skinny Love. The Wolves (Acts I and II) has a soulful and, dare I say it, funky feel to the vocals as he repeats 'What might have been lost'. Blindsided begins with a single note repeated but from this he weaves layer upon layer of voice to create something surprisingly complex. Lyrically the album can be a little obtuse but on some tracks there is total clarity. Closing track re:stacks is a beautiful finish in which, despite my talk of catharsis, he sings ' This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization/It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away/Your love will be/Safe with me'
So if you ever get that feeling I mentioned earlier and you can't get away to the country, take the phone off the hook, put this album on and enjoy, there isn't a weak track on it.