Bon Iver is kicking off 2009 with a tease.
After a monumental 2008 – the band drew critical acclaim for its debut, For Emma, For Ever Ago and toured the world over – Justin Vernon and company have released the four song EP, Blood Bank. Clocking in at just over 16 minutes, the EP showcases two road-worn songs, “Blood Bank” and “Beach Baby,” and, more importantly, a compositional maturity enhanced by broader instrumentation not found on the sparse For Emma.
While the first two tracks boast a slight progression from the band’s debut, the second half – “Babys” and “Woods” – offer the most significant promise. Die-cast piano repetition introduces “Baby’s," before giving way to Vernon’s trademark falsetto, a settling, mellow lilt, like snow melting from a grassy field. “Woods” is even more expansive, Vernon crafting a layered chorus of both organic and electronic vocals, a vocoder allowing an eerie R&B and soul feel to permeate the instrument-less track.
In only four songs, Bon Iver makes it clear that For Emma, Forever Agowas just the beginning. Building upon the debut’s laidback, emotional, and heartbreaking vibe, Blood Bank is a band growing into itself, both musically and lyrically. This is truly a tease, a quick kiss that promises so much more.
Blood Bank is out now on Jagjaguwar.