Repave - Volcano Choir

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Sep 3, 2013
    The album remains surprisingly cohesive, effectively splitting the difference between the fussed-over refinement of Bon Iver and the sometimes unfocused experimentation of Volcano Choir’s first album, 2009’s Unmap. It’s a balancing act that pays off.
  2. 91
    Volcano Choir’s second album is filled with memorable hooks, hummable melodies and arena-worthy choruses.
  3. Aug 29, 2013
    This record has all the earmarks of Vernon's next big thing. [Oct 2013, p.69]
  4. Repave is integral to retroactively understanding Vernon's canon and also establishes a path forward from the runaway success of his past.
  5. Sep 9, 2013
    What makes Repave different is that it’s the result of multiple creative minds at work, and that synergy is what makes the record so invigorating.
  6. Oct 17, 2013
    It’s a balance of brainy introspection and communal joy--hard to do but easy to listen to.
  7. Sep 23, 2013
    Volcano Choir puts Mr. Vernon’s voice and words up front and builds something like songs around them, often with crescendos marching toward full-scale choruses--enough to make the often inscrutable lyrics sound passionate enough to be worth puzzling out.
  8. The limits of Vernon’s imagination and drive have yet to be truly tested, and based on the size of the sounds that he’s summoning here, the ceiling isn’t even in his sights yet.
  9. Sep 10, 2013
    Repave is an album that crackles, sparkles and swoons in all the right places.
  10. 80
    These songs demonstrate the absolute best of both of Volcano Choir’s sides, as well as the album’s way of operating in waves: washing over everything with vicious crashes, then peacefully receding, smoothly repaving everything behind them.
  11. 80
    A daring, self-assured statement by a band who have finally figured out just what a special thing they have created with Volcano Choir, but still aren’t aware of where it’s going to take them next.
  12. Aug 30, 2013
    Sounding more like Bon Iver than Volcano Choir’s own debut, this offering will surely appease Vernon’s fans most; while it deviates rather sharply from Unmap, there are occasional moments that recall the band in its infancy but it is clear that the four years since the debut arrived have resulted in the band’s evolution--and they are all the better for it.
  13. Aug 29, 2013
    The results are remarkable. [Aug-Sep 2013, p.94]
  14. Aug 29, 2013
    It's an abstract and occasionally disjointed album that ultimately finds a rewarding balance, both sonically and lyrically, between the obscure and the deeply personal.
  15. Sep 4, 2013
    All songs on Repave begin quietly and almost none stay that way for long, so when those crescendos hit, you’re supposed to envision waves crashing on cold, barren outcroppings, white mist spraying as seabirds take majestic flight.
  16. Sep 3, 2013
    Repave is not just an album created in the interim of Bon Iver releases, but a project that weaves something together that has been there all along. In that sense, the album is both unfettered and cinematic.
  17. 75
    Repave rallies Vernon's swelling heartbreak, wind-chime wanderings, and nutty lyrics into robust, chorus-and-all songs. [6 Sep 2013, p.75]
  18. Sep 6, 2013
    Largely, Repave demonstrates that the collaboration between these Wisconsinites remains quite fruitful, yielding several songs that rival the finest moments in their respective catalogues.
  19. Sep 3, 2013
    Repave is anything but showy. It's a pretty type of album that washes over you, made up of slow burners that melt like hot wax.
  20. Apart from the weirdly out-of-place vocoder moment on ‘Comrade’, it’s a layered, lush and lovely eight-track affair.
  21. Sep 3, 2013
    The fact that Vernon’s voice is so distinctive means it’s difficult to distinguish this from his Bon Iver work yet there’s more than enough shimmering beauty here to get excited about.
  22. Aug 29, 2013
    It's songs seem somewhat aimless at times, but Repave is worth the journey for its riving consistency and moments of hook-laden greatness. [Oct 2013, p.94]
  23. Sep 23, 2013
    At this point in time, Volcano Choir has made it clear that despite what the scattershot structure of Unmap may have indicated upon its release, this project is for real. Whether it remains on the musical radar for years to come remains to be seen.
  24. Sep 19, 2013
    For all its cryptic lyrics and melodic complexities, the revelation it constantly seems to promise never quite arrives, but repave remains a grand gesture. [Oct 2013, p.95]
  25. Sep 3, 2013
    Despite the obvious love with which the album's been assembled, there's no denying that Broken Social Scene have been doing this sort of thing for much longer and with more success.
  26. Sep 9, 2013
    Highlights "Comrade" and "Alaskans" are abstract but inspiringly muscular, while other songs drift into panoramas of tentative guitar lines, distant whooshing sounds and Vernon's wounded falsetto singing couplets not even he would dare make sense of.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Sep 3, 2013
    Justin continues amazing with this project. But it's not just his vocals and lyrics that make this project great. There is some truly impressive, unique music on here that make it stand out as one of the best albums of 2013. Full Review »
  2. Mar 28, 2014
    This is one of those few albums where you don't want it to end. After my first couple of listens I could not get enough of it. I let off for a few weeks then listened to it again and it has truly become one of my favorites which is why it's deserving of a 9.

    The jump from "Unmap" to "Repave" is truly remarkable, "Unmap" had a couple standout tracks but the rest felt like ambient nothingness. With this album you can feel the much more focused attempt at each song. It sounds like a more powerful Bon Iver but with a little edge that Collection of Colonies of Bees gives it.

    This album is truly a masterpiece with its bold arrangements and Justin using more of his powerful natural voice. You will definitely listen to this one on repeat.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 14, 2013
    With Volcano Choir we don't quite get the unique, sorrowing, flavor of despair that we ironically love with Vernon's Bon Iver. But the beauty of the hooks and choruses will show you that Vernon and friends are more than just a side project. Full Review »