August is upon us: summer has passed her prime;
normality and routine loom just beyond the corner of our calendars. And just as
we feel like the best of the season is over, Bon Iver graces us with something
truly worth falling for.
Expectations were high for i,i, Bon Iver’s fourth album to-be, which was originally set for release at the end of this month. Instead, the group surprised us all across streaming platforms last Friday morning (9 August 2019), gradually dripping in each of the LP’s remaining tracks. Almost three years since their last album, i,i brings the project round in full circle, according to the band itself: “from the winter of For Emma, Forever Ago came the frenetic spring of Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and the unhinged summer of 22, A Million. Now, fall arrives early with i,i.”
What once began forever ago as the
solo project of a heartbroken Justin Vernon has since evolved into one of the
most exquisite collaborative works around – a progression which is almost palpable.
Without ever overdoing it, the production on i,i is simply formidable; breaking even further away from the raw,
folksy sound of For Emma, Forever Ago,
Vernon & co. opt instead for a fuller, more layered composition. Between
the subtle strings, hazed vocals and all its other meticulous components, this
album certainly feels like the most mature of the four, arriving once again at an
emotion and authenticity that could only ever be ‘Bon Iver’.
As beautiful as the album is, I can’t help but realise that we seem to have run out of seasons… is this the end? Have we really reached the last of this sonic saga? If so, it’s a hell of a way to go out: a perfectly constructed finale, innovative and diverse – i,i will go far in the legacy of Bon Iver.
Haiku Review Musical seasons Pass their own summer solstice, But live on, always.