Justin Vernon’s third Bon Iver album is a weird and wonderful thing
Reunited for their first album since 1973, the original line-up of The Official Greatest Band Of All Time apparently recorded an album that sounded “like Bon Jovi” last year. Realising that this didn’t exactly constitute the kind of comeback everyone had spent eons waiting for, they ditched it and booked studio time with legendary US producer Steve Albini. The man who got the sound on Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’. The result is ‘The Weirdness’, a brash, modern-sounding rock record that also sounds more vital than most bands 40 years The Stooges’ junior.
I n fact, being back with the old team seems to have reinvigorated Pop, whose smart/dumb persona, legendary drawl – he’s one of the only people in the world that can make “Satre” rhyme with “mods” – and dry wit combine here in lyrical assaults on self-indulgent rock stars, the bovine middle-classes, grasping rockbiz phonies and gold-diggers. Indeed, despite the fact that his face is now wrinklier than Pete Doherty’s scrotum, ‘Trollin’’ sees him boasting about driving around in his Cadillac picking up girls young enough to be his grandchildren. “Rock critics”, he laughs “wouldn’t like this at all”. Wrong again. Sure, ‘The Weirdness’ rarely comes close to capturing the feral magic of the band’s best vintage work (even if ‘Mexican Guy’ is built on the same rhythm as ‘1969’) , but, hey, it’s The Stooges – and that should be enough for anyone.
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