From the BBC: Even if this follow-up to 2010’s debut Learning makes Bon Iver resemble Mastodon in comparison, the album title reinforces an emotional show of strength, and sometimes even an injection of musical welly. Though Learning’s stripped vocal/piano blueprint is Hadreas’ default setting, a fizzing guitar coda elevates AWOL Marine, Take Me Home adds echoing drums and pedal steel swoons in a doo-wop fashion, his own flights of falsetto included, and Hood is an even stronger take on that style. Normal Song also taps a 1950s dramarama, with the string synth mirroring the similarly retro-haunted region of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
But altogether Put Your Back N 2 It exists in a bleakly beautiful twilight zone of Hadreas’ own making. Indicative of this is No Tear, with his tremulous vocal (a touch Sufjan Stevens) on the chorus echoed by a creepy (as in Twin Peaks creepy) slowed-down vocal counterpart. But then Hadreas’ way of dragging you in to his sadness and confusion (and mirroring your own in the process) is a most bizarrely comforting feeling once you’re alone with him. And as Dark Parts puts it, in one of many memorable images or statements, “He’ll never break you, baby”.