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Big Red Machine: Big Red Machine

Big Red Machine might as well be a new Bon Iver album. While this album is a little less experimental than 22, a Million and sonically leans more towards Sleep Well Beast, Justin Vernon pairs perfectly with the sonic templates provided by The National's Aaron Dessner. Vernon sings, autotunes, and even raps his way through lyrics that have become increasingly abstract with each passing album, yet the lyrics retain small vivid details that provide an emotional anchor and prevent them from becoming meaningless. There's a good range of influences here ranging from gospel to electronica, and Vernon and Dessner continue to show that you can wring just as much emotion out of electronics as you can from an acoustic guitar. "Gratitude", "Hymnostic", "Forest Green", and "I Won't Run from It" are all highlights. "Air Stryp" is really the only song preventing this from being great from start to finish.

Rating: 9.5/10
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