Blood Bank (EP)
REVIEW BY: Kenny S. McGuane
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/24/2009
Bon Iver’s critically acclaimed 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago has done a fine job of solidifying the band’s mastermind Justin Vernon as one of the most exciting, mysterious and universally admired American songwriters making music today. Vernon’s poetry, restrained guitar playing, hauntingly intimate production and extraordinarily beautiful voice all joined forces on For Emma, Forever Ago and the end result was a record more striking and gorgeous than any in recent memory.
As is usually the case with such a potent debut album, it’s difficult to imagine a follow-up meeting expectations. Thankfully, rather than hastily deliver a sophomore effort, Bon Iver have given listeners Blood Bank, a four-track EP that has turned out to be an appropriate companion piece to their stunning debut album. Although Blood Bank as an experience comes nowhere near the overall effects of For Emma, Forever Ago, it does everything to reaffirm
The title track is far and away the set’s strongest and it was actually written for the debut record, but never made the cut. Thank god it’s preserved on Blood Bank. How
It will be difficult for Blood Bank to tide fans over until the next record, mainly because it’s so very short, just under seventeen minutes. But if examined separate from the For Emma, Forever Ago context, as difficult as that may be, Blood Bank is just as good an example of Justin Vernon’s prowess as a forward-thinking innovator of American indie- folk and -- similar to the debut -- it leaves the listener aching for more.