Unmap

Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. When it closes with the eerie, smoky gospel influenced Youlagy, you know it’s fantastic and you know you’ve found the most breathtakingly beautiful album this year.
  2. Despite the looseness and the grab-bag approach, the best of the songs on Unmap feel right as rain, like these weird mash-ups were there all along, just waiting to be discovered.
  3. The record is too weird to turn heads in quite the same meteoric fashion that Emma did but is a nice addition to Vernon’s canon and an indicator of just how high he can let his freak flag wave and still sound just like himself.
  4. 'Seeplymouth' is a complex and beautiful song, and one that displays the talents of all the collaborators in Volcano Choir. A lot of people were enamored of "For Emma, Forever Ago" last year; they’ll be well rewarded if Justin Vernon’s involvement leads them to Unmap.
  5. Perhaps it’ll never earn For Emma‘s unrivaled reputation as being music to hang your hearts and dreams upon, but it’s a dynamic batch of aural wilderness to get lost in. So wander on.
  6. The music of Unmap ticks with signature twists and sounds, things that suggest Justin Vernon could be a national treasure on the lines of Neil Young or Elliott Smith instead of the heartbroken one hit wonder that some might have expected.
  7. That it is a beautifully realised set of textures and sounds certainly helps, as does the fact that its keenly abstract, exploratory bent makes any attempted comparisons with his debut album practically meaningless.
  8. Filter
    78
    Layered, atmospheric and melodic, each song takes its time and builds effortlessly into the next, creating an ethereal experience that intensifies with each listen. [Fall 2009, p.106]
  9. Despite being a solid, sometimes gorgeous album of songs from a very well-matched collaboration of artists, Unmap’s ultimate effect will be whetting appetites everywhere for the next Bon Iver record.
  10. Here we’re given a respite from Bon Iver’s heavy crises while still loving on Bon Iver; here, Volcano Choir is inevitably weightless--a pretty happy band with a pretty happy album.
  11. Unmap seems to have been constructed more for the head than the soul, making it easier to admire for its boldly uncommercial audacity than love for its actual music.
  12. Despite the occasional flaws, the album shows that Vernon (along with the guys in Collections of Colonies of Bees) has not only the desire to branch out but also the necessary skills.
  13. 60
    Both thrilling and baffling, the nine tracks prove that Vernon's appeal lies in his otherworldly sound, not in his broken heart.
  14. Q Magazine
    60
    If the results are sometimes insubstantial, they can also be richly atmospheric. [Oct 2009, p.118]
  15. Uncut
    60
    It is uneasy listening. [Oct 2009, p.107]
  16. Mojo
    60
    Unmap transcends such mood geometrics thanks to Vernon's mostly wordless incantations. [Oct 2009, p.99]
  17. Unmap is the definition of a vanity project, except there’s not much vanity in doing an electronic record that is inferior to the original music either group has made on their own.
  18. It desperately needs some kind of visual accompaniment to, at least, add a cinematic legitimacy to the sound's sporadic mood swings. Worthwhile? Probably. But the world waits for the proper return of Bon Iver.
  19. Under The Radar
    40
    Volcano Choir is asking various musical questions here, and the overall answer is yes, there does come a point where things fall apart. [Fall 2009, p.68]
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Aug 21, 2011
    6
    It's quite messy for myself to comment this album because while it has, in my opinion, some of the best tracks of the entire Vernon's careerIt's quite messy for myself to comment this album because while it has, in my opinion, some of the best tracks of the entire Vernon's career (bow down to the brilliance of Island, IS), there are also some eerie fillers which, if had been excluded, would have made Unmap a brilliant EP instead of a bearable album leaving a sense of slow-paced frustration. Full Review »
  2. RyanJ.
    Oct 2, 2009
    5
    Pretty overrated, boring, only a few songs are good. But the songs that are good are REALLY GOOD.
  3. ChristianP.
    Oct 1, 2009
    9
    Very exciting and captivating stuff.