After a four-year wait, Volcano Choir have announced Repave, the follow-up to their excellent 2009 debut Unmap. For Justin Vernon, the experimental post-rock stylings of his collaborative side-project offered a certain liberation, a repudiation of the labels of ascetic emotional honesty that attached themselves to him after Bon Iver’s first casino online album. Since then Bon Iver’s work has taken leaps away from such labels, so Vernon’s side-project suggests the space for more daring musical experimentation.
“Byegone” is the first single from the new album, and while it may not display the level of experimentation one might expect, the same level of attention to texture and evocation is notable. Like Unmap highlight “Seeplymouth,” “Byegone” has a strong sense of the ascendant; a subtle, nuanced proclivity for epic crescendos. It’s all built with a soaring, resonant riff and lingering piano chords which save it from veering towards a thin or hollow sound due to Vernon’s vocal performance. Most notably, though, “Byegone” displays Volcano Choir“s simple love for making and combining great, expressive sounds, which we can all agree is a good thing.