Release Date: Feb 19, 2008
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
People are at their most interesting when they are alone. There is something about isolation that makes human beings shy away into their own minds, forget that they exist, and it is in this special, private habitat that they can be honestly, completely, themselves. Time flies in a place like this, entire conversations are to be held with nothing but the thin air surrounding you.
It’s never too early to start figuring out which albums will wind up on your year-end best-of. And Bon Iver’s debut disc is already making many people’s early list. Iver, aka Justin Vernon, has mastered the Iron & Wine-meets-Band of Horses aesthetic: passionate acoustic strums, falsetto vocals and thickly layered harmonies that all come together in one of the year’s strongest indie folk records.
Bon Iver is the work of Justin Vernon. He isolated himself in a remote cabin in Wisconsin for almost four months, writing, and recording the songs on For Emma, Forever Ago, his haunting debut album. A few parts (horns, drums, and backing vocals) were added in a North Carolina studio, but for the majority of the time it's just Vernon, his utterly disarming voice, and his enchanting songs.
Much has been made out of Justin Vernon’s recording, For Emma, Forever Ago, coming out of a hunting cabin in the nowhere of northwestern Wisconsin. His backwoods, back-to-the-land lifestyle is only good accompaniment for an already well-crafted rural album. Yes, to imagine a place does make this album better, but only to a point. At times (“Lump Sum,” for instance) leaning too heavily toward adult contemporary, For Emma resists sentimentality in much the same way M.
Review Summary: With bolder steps, Bon Iver could become a voice for our generation worth getting excited over. For Emma, Forever Ago already is.When Justin Vernon’s previous band broke up and six years of despair came crashing down on him, he fled to “hibernate” in a cabin in Wisconsin. For three months he was cooped up, taking those six years and turning them into song.
Justin Vernon's Bon Iver (bon ee-vair) and his fragile and resilient debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, were wholly unexpected. After severing ties with girl and band, Vernon retreated to an isolated hunting cabin in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin to recuperate, and that obvious chill and blinding whiteness swirl throughout the outcome. It's an emotional journey from strum one of the simple "Flume" to the accepting nouveau soft-rock closer "Re: Stacks." Bon Iver is as disparate as his falsetto is strong, highlight "Skinny Love" enveloping TV on the Radio and "The Wolves (Act I and II)" closing with a dose of near-electronic supertracked vocals.
It helps to have a hook and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon has got himself a good one. For three months last winter the Eau Claire native and ex-member of DeYarmond Edison retired to a cabin in Northern Wisconsin to record For Emma, Forever Ago when he wasn’t chopping wood and working on keeping warm. The following autumn, Vernon brought his songs to the CMJ festival in New York and proceeded to bowl over a coterie of bloggers and music journalists.