Repave is the sophomore release from Michigan collaborative Volcano Choir, a group which is always going to be overshadowed by one of its members’ other projects. Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver has become a unique cross over success, a rare ‘band’ that plays stadiums and soundtracks Grey’s Anatomy yet still retains artistic integrity and is critically revered. This is testament to Vernon’s talent, however he only contributed vocals to this record, allowing the other five members to showcase their own considerable abilities.
Opener ‘Tiderays’ begins with a single organ chord and an acoustic fingerpicking part. Vernon’s unmistakable voice is added and the drums and electric guitars build the song, somewhat oddly, into a powerful anthem. This turns out to be a common occurrence in many of the tracks, the band deftly switch from acoustic noodling and angelic harmonies into crashing power balladry. At some points, particularly on ‘Acetate’ and ‘Byegone’, they verge dangerously close to ‘euphoric fists in the air’ territory but thankfully never quite get there.
Volcano Choir have created a beautifully realized album, in spite of the fact it does get a bit like an uplifting movie montage at times. Overall though, Repave is an interesting modern rock record.