22, A Million
Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) spent four years working on 22, a Million, and it sounds like it. The singer/songwriter’s ambitious third album is a meticulously crafted mélange of experimental pop and electronic music built from heavily processed vocals, looped rhythms and bass-encrusted programming. Soulful in their emotions yet downright alien in their structures, “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄” and “715 – Cr∑∑Ks” feel far more closely related to the post-everything R&B deconstructions of FKA Twigs than they do the indie-folk genre from which Vernon initially emerged. Though several songs, “00000 Million” and “29 #Strafford APTS” included, keep the focus on Vernon’s achingly vulnerable poetry, 22, a Million ultimately should be experienced as pure sound. After all, it’s a dense and cryptic entity that reveals its secrets only after listeners have lost themselves in its maze-like structures and gauzy atmospherics.