in Review

Big Red Machine

Big Red Machine is one of those albums that definitely seemed like it would make my top 10 list until I actually started making the list. Maybe it still will, I’ve got another week to sort it out. But in case it doesn’t, here’s a little blurb about an album that seemed made for me.

Big Red Machine, the band, is a collaboration between Justin Vernon (Mr. Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner of The National. Stylistically, it seems to pick up where 22, A Million left off, presenting a gloomy, glitchy soundscape for Vernon that’s pulled perhaps just a little bit in the direction of the last National album, Sleep Well Beast. The production is lush, with countless instruments and samples employed, as well as a hefty cast of supporting players, including members of Arcade Fire and The National and solo stars like Phoebe Bridgers and Lisa Hannigan (Steven Universe represent).

So it’s perfect for me, right? Well, not quite. The reason this probably won’t crack my top 10 is that I just can’t think of a single track to pick out, the album is just too loose. I read somewhere that these songs where designed to be improvised on top of at live performances with different supporting artists and instrumental configurations, and that checks out. Ultimately it’s an album I’ve listened to a lot but I’m just not as passionate about it as I’d like to be. But hot damn would I like to see this show.

Favorite Tracks: “Gratitude,” “Lyla,” “I Won’t Run From It”