After what feels like an age, Bon Iver has announced the release of their fourth album i,i, which is set to land in our grubby little hands on August 30. Just to whet our appetites for a full record from the genre-bending indie collective, Camp Bon Iver has dropped another two tracks from the forthcoming record.
What started out as a one man band back in 2007 with the seminal For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver has now blossomed out to a whole collective of musicians with Justin Vernon at the helm.
Alongside announcing the new album, Justin has revealed that each of Bon Iver’s albums represents a different season.
Kicking off in winter with For Emma, the band’s sound has shifted like the seasons through the regeneration and renewal of spring in Bon Iver, Bon Iver, to the thrill and excitement of the longer days of summer in 22, A Million, and finally entering the earthy tones of autumn (or “fall”, as Americans want to call it), which marks a season of letting go to make way for hibernation and reformation.
“It feels very much like the most adult record, the most complete,” Justin says.
“It feels like when you get through all this life, when the sun starts to set, and what happens is you start gaining perspective. And then you can put that perspective into more honest, generous work.”
We’ve already been blessed with two tracks from i,i, which have been played over and over in my office/my headphones since they dropped, and now we’re being treated to another duo of tracks; ‘Jelmore‘ and ‘Faith‘.
‘Jelmore‘ opens with more of that staccato, disjointed, and slightly jarring synth that we grew to adore in 22, A Million, with Justin’s vocals drizzled over the top like silken poetry, complemented by smooth, fuzzy saxophone, harking back to previous records and linking everything together as the aural seasons shift.
The autumn of the cycle is clearly marked in ‘Jelmore‘ with lyrics like “We’ll all be gone by fall, we’ll all be gone by the falling light,” which could easily refer to the fallen leaves as the weather turns cold, or people leaving us during a time of emotional shift and flux.
Conversely, ‘Faith‘ feels a lot more like the kind of Bon Iver we met back in the winter, with For Emma. Delicate, gentle acoustic guitars kick off a sense of swelling, uplifting, emotion, before cracking into a big crescendo as Justin pours his whole heart into lyrics like “Time and again, time to be brave.”
Faith in something larger than us, maybe in the gigantic power of the Earth itself, feels both sought out and celebrated with this track, with an overwhelming feeling of positivity oozing out of every moment.
It’s a decent contrast from the sombre, heart-rending Bon Iver we first met back in 2007, but much like the way nature endures the long winters and scorching summers, renewal and growth is inevitable, and yearns to be celebrated.
You can get your hands on i,i from August 30 through Jagwarmar.Image: Getty Images / Anne-Helene Lebrun