You could say Volcano Choir is a supergroup, mixing the members of Collections Of Colonies Of Bees (Chris Rosenau, Jon Mueller, Daniel Spack, Thomas Wincek and Matthew Skemp) and the mastermind behind Bon Iver (Justin Vernon).
Their debut album “Unmap” was released in 2009, with only a couple of shows in the following 2 years. Right after that, Bon Iver released the masterpiece “Bon Iver, Bon Iver” which earned Vernon 4 Grammy nominations and 2 wins (including Best Alternative Album). My expectations for “Repave” were high, considering the success and creativity coming from such amazing artists.
An interesting fact, is that Vernon only wrote the vocal tracks and not a single note on the record.
I made some space on the floor and took a pillow to join me, and I pressed play. The first thing I heard on “Tiderays” was an unceasing synth intro leading to a guitar riff, and then the real deal began with Vernon’s distinctive voice singing “You wake up, soft denim on the floor”.
“Repave” does not sound like Bon Iver or Collections Of Colonies Of Bees (just a bit), it sounds like Volcano Choir.
“Acetate” is a thoughtful ride, with genius progressions and outstanding vocal tracks from the whole band. “Comrade” and “Byegone” are the two singles and my personal favorites (not because I knew them better, but because the sound attracted me more than the following tracks). Both have a lithesome beat and great lyrics (“Said that we could go back, said that we could go find. Terra forming!” or “With enough keif, you can really bore someone. Took a rap trap out to the Ache Inn, we were drinking all the ways to down“).
“Alaskans” led by Rosenau’s acoustic guitar, takes us through a deep and harnessed process, ending with a quote from the film “Charles Bukowski” by Thomas Schmitt. “Dancepack“, resourcefully named after Daniel Spack, begins with a disordered stack of notes (again by Rosenau) and slowly takes shape into a memorable riff and high spot for the album.
The last two tracks, “Keel” and “Almanac” are quite different. The first one is feels like a transition and the last is the energic zenith for a beautfully made record.
I can’t wait to hear more songs (like the new ones they’ve been playing live) and of course, a new album!
Amazing and memorable