Volcano Choir – Comrade

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Instant Classic

By the sound of “Byegone” and “Comrade”, Volcano Choir doesn’t merely feel like a side project for Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon anymore. You could even say that their upcoming second album Repave might become what Bon Iver was to For Emma, Forever Ago; namely a musically expansive follow-up with richer, self-assured ideas. The “supergroup” that besides Vernon consist of members from post-rock outfit Collections of Colonies of Bees released Unmap back in 2009, a short album that was about as leftfield as Vernon ever travelled, almost sounding like Sung Tung-era Animal Collective. So its bit of a curveball to hear these two new tracks where Volcano Choir suddenly goes all-out in what could best be describes as a sort of world-swallowing chamber-rock. Vernon’s soulful voice takes center stage, ranging from his deepest register to his wounded falsetto and there’s even a vocoder thrown in just to make the case stronger.

The result is startling yet somewhat expected. It would be strange to hear Vernon going back to places he ones visited. During the course of his career he expanded with every subsequent album by adding more layers and additional instruments to his creations, regardless if it was a solo effort or as part of a band. So no, Volcano Choir is far from just a side project – remember that Collections of Colonies of Bees played instruments on Bon Iver, and it shows. Especially “Comrade” feels like a full band-effort who has played together for a good couple of years. And even if it might not reach the heights of Bon Iver, it makes the time leading up to his next solo album a whole lot less excruciating.

Repave is out September 2 internationally via Jagjaguwar.

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