Bon Iver – 22, A Million

[Year: 2016 / Country: USA / Label: Jagjaguwar]

The glitchy descendent of Spirit of Eden

Upon early listens, 22, A Million appeared to be Bon Iver’s leap towards the more glitchy post-dubstep sound of recent collaborator James Blake. The autotune is there, as is the textured electronic beats. It’s a major shift for the once minimal folky songwriter. And while contemporary influences are a major presence, it turned out that the undeniable influence of Talk Talk is what shines brightest for me. Decades after the releases of Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, Talk Talk’s immaculately composed jazzy, ethereal post-rock has consistently been a catalyst for the growth of other artists. Radiohead continues to draw from that well, and now Bon Iver. This is not to discredit the artistic merits of Justin Vernon. During the evolution of Bon Iver, the project has always sounded unique, and 22, A Million is no different. So, although it’s a significant stylistic shift, there’s no question that it’s a Bon Iver record. Slow moving and atmospheric, the third Bon Iver record is richly detailed in a way that will make it take longer to fully reveal itself, but that’s part of the reward. On 22, A Million, Bon Iver has embraced a subtle maximalism and experimentation without distracting from or devaluing Vernon’s beautiful emotive voice.

Favorite tracks: 29 #Strafford APTS, 666 ʇ, 8(circle)

Review: Bon Iver - 22, A Million