Those familiar with Bon Iver's first album, 2008's For Emma, Forever Ago, will find that the Wisconsin-based band's signature sounds are preserved on their newest release, along with some welcome new additions to strum your heartstrings.
Bon Iver includes much of the same crooning vocals and ethereal sound but moves the band into a more experimental field, weaving a wide array of unpredictable sounds into the tapestry of the album. This time, the quartet throws in moments of grit to offset airy vocals. Darting from folksy to gritty country licks, it's impossible to peg down a single descriptive word for the album. Despite working with a wider range of emotions and instrumentation to allow more variation in sound combinations, the album still maintains a flow from song to song, tying it together neatly.
Departing from singer-songwriter frontman Justin Vernon's "man-alone-in-the-woods" image, this release paints a bigger picture of the artist behind the music. With everything from the nostalgic "Calgary" to the piano-driven chamber-pop of "Wash.," this release feels more mature than For Emma, moving past the heartbreak and solitude towards the complexities of adulthood.