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Won over by the Collections Colonies of Bees' 2004 album, Customer, Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) recruited the post-rock group's Jon Mueller, Jim Schoenecker, Chris Rosenau, Daniel Spack, and Thomas Wincek to back him up in a side project titled Volcano Choir. The name is a fitting description of the band's sound, which is at times hushed and introspective, and at other times explosive with epic, anthemic harmonies. 2013's Repave picks up where 2009's Unmap left off, and marks a nice direction for Vernon. Bon Iver's last official outing in 2011 had tendencies to crush itself under its own weight, and was layered with overdubs to the point of falling flat, but aspects of Repave hark back to the raw subtleties that made For Emma, Forever Ago such a heartbreaking and inviting debut. "Alaskans" is a good example of how the purity of Vernon's voice is enough to lead a song to great heights, with only some acoustic guitar, twinkling piano, and ambient sounds behind him. The Collections Colonies of Bees smartly play up his singing strengths with subtle accompaniment, adding just enough rudder in the water to steer his songs. The three years that it took to finish the writing process obviously cemented the chemistry between Vernon and the bandmembers, who have become more comfortable departing from their post-rock roots as Pele to concentrate on working cinematic, minimalist backing nuances into the songs, rather than filling them with mathy grooves. Repave is anything but showy. It's a pretty type of album that washes over you, made up of slow burners that melt like hot wax.
Performance CreditsVolcano Choir Primary Artist
Chris Rosenau Group Member
Jon Mueller Group Member
Justin Vernon Group Member
Thomas Wincek Group Member
Matthew Skemp Group Member
Daniel Spack Group Member
Jamie Hansen Choir, Chorus
Technical CreditsDaniel Murphy Layout
Volcano Choir Engineer