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January 22nd, 2014 12:01 am PETE COTTELL | Music Stories

Show Preview: Volcano Choir, the Cloack Ox

music_volcanochoir_4012IMAGE: Cameron Wittig
[POST-ROCK] When Volcano Choir released Unmap in 2009, few knew what to expect from America’s newly minted sad-guy laureate. Upon releasing For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon employed lo-fi “dude with a tape deck” production and a rustic backstory to craft a cathartic testament to the power of solitude. He literally wandered out of the woods and into the hearts of millions. So when Vernon teamed up with Wisconsin-based experimental post-rock group Collections of Colonies of Bees, disappointment was the knee-jerk reaction from most. “What the hell is this?” I asked myself when I heard “Island, IS,” one of Volcano Choir’s early songs, for the first time. “This sounds like it was made by…computers.” The lyrics made no sense, and sounded almost happy. Still-cryptic ramblings aside, Volcano Choir’s 2013 follow-up, Repave, feels much more like a mission statement—not just guys getting baked and emailing guitar loops back and forth, but a purposeful actualization of Vernon and some good friends working together as a band. As tempting as it is to call this “Bon Iver’s dalliance with post-rock,” it’s a shortsighted label that collapses under the sweep of tracks like “Alaskans” and “Comrade.” The cachet will surely get people in the door—the show is sold out—but they’ll marvel at something greater than its parts when the lights go down.

SEE IT: Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., 284-8686. 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 23. Sold out.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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