Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Listening - Volcano Choir, Repave

As if 2013's new music releases haven't been fantastic enough, Volcano Choir is out today with their sophomore album "Repave" (after 2009's Unmap). Despite fall being just around the corner, "Repave" opens up on "Tiderays" with lofty vibes typical of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, but in a way that evokes spring and awakenings. This opening starts a journey into a world of incredibly cohesive yet diverse sounds and tones that mark each song throughout the album. We hear a different side of Justin Vernon through his deeper vocals (check out "Acetate") that offer a commanding alternative to his Bon Iver- falsetto, although the falsetto makes appearances throughout, in a way that's complementing to Vernon's regular register (as on "Comrade").

It's a skyscraper of an album, full of high reaching, anthemic songs - sometimes airy and sometimes tall and towering. The apex of this is on "Byegone," with its soaring tones that will make the hair on your arms stand up. "Alaskans" brings in a deeper side by simplifying the instrumentation with mostly keys and guitar, but by pairing it with the echoed vocals of Vernon, in a gentle tune that surrounds your ears with its quiet simplicity.

Its a side we see occasionally throughout the album, but it's also not a side that dominates "Repave." There are also electronic influences, auto tuning, and other atypical indie rock styles that show up throughout the album that in any other arena would seem out of place, but given Vernon's wide history of collaborations, it all works. An album full of varying sounds like this one just shows us once and for all that Justin Vernon can basically do no wrong in his collaborations, but it's this particular grouping of band members that seems to make this album one of his best projects to date.

"Repave" is out today.

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