Things took a bit of a turn for Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) in 2009, when he premiered “Island, IS,” the first single from Unmap, his debut album with the experimental rock outfit Volcano Choir. The song strayed from the stripped-down folk melancholy Vernon had become known for, setting his vocals over a quicker, stranger hypnotic loop.
The band, initially a collaboration between Vernon and post-rockers Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, has been somewhat dormant since touring shortly in 2009. (After all, Vernon was off making the third best album of 2011 and hanging around with Yeezy). But today marks the release of “Byegone,” the first single from Volcano Choir’s upcoming sophomore album, Repave, due out on 9/3 via Jagjaguwar – and, like “Island, IS” was in 2009, it’s a bit of a change for Vernon.
Sure, Vernon’s singing still cryptically meanders around jangling guitars like it always does. But his voice is lower and richer, and the song’s instrumentation trails the kind of straight-forward, masculine grooves most recently seen on The National’s Trouble Will Find Me. It’s a churning rock ballad, with a satisfying release, and a comforting fizzle-out – and, to be honest, it suits him. Listen to it now.