Rating (9.0)

Bon Iver remains the only band that can make secrets, breakups, and blood banks seem so hopelessly romantic. On the follow up EP to 2008s For Emma, Forever Ago, frontman Justin Vernon takes you through his journey of emotions with 4 dynamic pieces, beginning with the title track, "Blood Bank". The lyrics begin with simple yet significant scenarios and build to endearing confessions like "I'm in love with your honor; I'm in love with your cheeks". The percussion is limited to just basic drumming, leaving the overlapped vocal harmonies as the driving force behind the song.

Vernon continues to deliver his heart-on-his-sleeve with the notable track "Beach Baby", where a lonely guitar and fragments of sentences paint a picture of lost love and memories of making love on the beach. Sadly, the EP doesn't finish as strong as it started. Bon Iver fans will probably find themselves bearing with Vernon as he explores the vocoder on the last track, "The Woods". However, the group does not disappoint with this little gem, and it leaves us with an intense anticipation for further full-length releases.

See also their contribution to the "Dark was the Night" compilation; "Brackett, WI", which has quickly become a repeat on my shuffle.

-Ila Joy