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For Emma, Forever Ago

This writer is a firm believer that every album you pick up should be a universally accessible experience. Solitude, sanctuary and silence spawn an exorcism of sorts.

Rating: 6 / 10

Edwin McFee, 19 May 2008

It doesn’t matter where it was made, who produced it and what drugs they happened to shove up their nose whenever they wrote the songs in the first place – you should be able to dig it no matter what. Every now and again though, the situations and surroundings of a record end up becoming indelibly inked on the songs like a tattoo. Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago is one such opus.

Back in 2006, Justin Vernon (AKA Bon Iver) ended up leaving his former band DeYarmond Edison and decided to spend three months alone in a log cabin in Northern Wisconsin seeking some silence and solitude. His original intentions were to chop wood, hunt for food and engage in other all-round bloke-ish pursuits, but he ended up writing songs instead, which later turned into his debut album.

It sounds strange to say it, but listening to For Emma, Forever Ago really does evoke all those images of wood fires and log cabins. The mostly acoustic guitar-based songs echo through your stereo and really are quite beautiful in their stripped-down form. You get the feeling that Justin is lamenting a lost love (in this case, his old bandmates) and these songs are an exorcism of sorts. Comparisons to Iron And Wine, the Cave Singers and Bright Eyes are obvious, but there’s enough unique material here to help Bon Iver forge his own path. Being locked away in a log cabin never sounded so much fun.

Key Track: ‘The Wolves (Act I and II)’

Rating: 6 / 10
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