Bon Iver // i,i
The sounds contained in i,i are so effective they're almost emotionally manipulative.
If you haven't kept up with Bon Iver since Forever Ago, you're in for quite the surprise. A move further afield from 2016's glorious 22, A Million is the brilliant yet hard-to-accurately punctuate i,i (pronounced "I comma I"), a feat of modern indie pop recording far more akin to hip-hop that essentially transcends genre. Using his voice as an elemental instrument, Justin Vernon crafts a gorgeous aural vista with one foot planted in the future. Can you tell what he is singing? In most cases, no. That doesn't take away from the listener's reaction however. The sounds contained in i,i are so effective they're almost emotionally manipulative. Vernon expresses a divine ennui, melded with a meditative acceptance. There's an overwhelming warmth wrapped around despondency at work here that's terrifically successful. There are moments of freedom like the lush saxophone solo from Minneapolis musician Mike Lewis on "Sh'Diah." Guests like Bruce Hornsby on "U (Man Like), James Blake ("iMi'), and Camilla Staveley-Taylor ("Faith") pepper in new and welcome tones through the album's 13 tracks.
— Nick Warren