Sahan Jayasuriya

Volcano Choir making a rare appearance at the Pabst

Fresh off the set of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, this collaboration of Wisconsin musicians will return to town as part of the tour for "Repave," their new album.

By - Sep 27th, 2013 03:31 pm
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Volcano Choir

Volcano Choir L to R: Justin Vernon, Chris Rosenau, Dan Spack, Thomas Wincek, Jon Mueller and Matthew Skemp.

The first thing to say about Volcano Choir is what Volcano Choir is: a collaboration born in 2005 between Milwaukee post-rock band Collections of Colonies of Bees and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (with All Tiny Creatures‘ Matthew Skemp as well). While having Vernon as a member has helped draw more attention to the group, Volcano Choir stands apart from both groups as its own separate entity. Fans of either will no doubt be able to hear echoes of both in Volcano Choir’s music, with Vernon’s trademark vocalizing and the Bees’ mathematical ambiance finding their way into the group’s songwriting.

Their debut album Unmap was a unique blend of abstract experiments and lush textures – an open record with minimal boundaries that showed an immense amount of promise. But that album was written with its members scattered across the state, so the expectation was that its follow-up would come with a bit more cohesiveness.

Repave, their sophomore effort released just a few weeks ago, succeeds in that cohesion. The album is much more unified and focused than its predecessor, and Vernon’s vocals are much more clear and audible. They reverberate beautifully on “Dancepack”, while a steady drum groove helps navigate the song on a calm sea of white noise. “Tiderays” is one the most evenly collaborative tracks in the group’s repertoire, splitting the strongest elements of both groups right down the center. Vernon’s signature falsetto drifts in and out only to be met with a repetitive Bees-style build up, reminiscent of Flocks I from their 2008 album Birds. You may have seen them perform “Byegone” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon a few weeks ago. If you missed it, take a break from this for a second and go check it out on Stereogum.

Volcano Choir take the Pabst Theatre stage this Saturday, and it’s one of the only stages they’ll take in the coming months – due to their busy schedules, the band is only touring sparingly. Tickets are still available, but this one will likely sell out by showtime. Don’t blow it, Milwaukee.

Volcano Choir will perform at the Pabst Theatre Saturday night with special guest Hello Death. Doors open at 8 p.m.; tickets are $25. Follow Sahan Jayasuriya on Instagram and Twitter @sahanicyouth.

Categories: Music, Rock

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