AOTY 2018

Big Red Machine

Big Red Machine - Big Red Machine
Critic Score
Based on 9 reviews
2018 Ratings: #511 / 709
User Score
Based on 121 ratings
2018 Ratings: #419
August 31, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Art Pop, Folktronica / Genres
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The themes running through Big Red Machine are rarely uplifting, but there’s unmistakable joy in the music here, a deep care and love for what they were creating and how they got to create it.

The Guardian

Any sense that this is minor work, just a bit of tooling about with your mates before a proper album, quickly evaporates.

A.V. Club

Big Red Machine is a testament to their individual interests in glitchy improv and emotive delivery.


More a headphones-type album than a radio-friendly one, what emerges are still songs before compositions or productions, though they may appeal to the more explorative indie rockers.

Slant Magazine

Big Red Machine is still best appreciated not as part of the general progression of either artist's catalog, but as a document of casual creativity.


The debut collaboration of Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner is gorgeous and ponderous, a document of a creative process that feels a bit like watching someone get purposefully lost.


Songs begin on an idea and vamp on it long past the point of no return, stretching an EP's worth of brilliant moments into an album.

Rolling Stone

Shorn of backstory, Big Red Machine sounds like Bon Iver and The National freestyling with friends, drinks and vape pens.

Consequence of Sound

There are moments when it feels admirable in its scope and ambition, but ultimately, the pure intentions get lost in the noise.

The recent joint venture of Justin Vernon and The National's Aaron Dessner is one that you shouldn't miss out on. Sure, there are a few missteps in the tracklist that either slow down the tempo a bit or that don't entirely fit the mood that's established on the rest of the album, but all in all it's an admirable genre-bending project of two reputable musicians pushing the other to deliver some great stuff. You should at the very least check it out.
Folktronica is one of those genres I hardly ever enjoy so walking into this album I had my hesitations. I was somewhat right about this, no means it is a terrible album of big red machine but the production on here feels unfocused and tangled to the point that some songs on here isn't memorable at all. Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner work on here is fine for a typical folktronica record but im hardly ever going return to this.

Favourite tracks: People's Lullaby and Forest green.
There is something about an urban setting that makes large bodies of water more majestic, especially at night. A month ago, I watched The National perform on the banks of the Detroit river. It was sublime. Somehow, inexplicably, the water made the experience more soothing.

There's a line towards the end of Air Stryp that goes "in the light of the moon/in an old canoe/whats a girl to do/in a world like you?" As the rest of the album breezed by, I could not shake that imagery from my ... read more
As someone who is a massive fan of both Bon Iver and The National, has seen both of them live, and enjoyed pretty much everything I've heard from them...

The most seven out of ten album I've heard all year.
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Track List

  1. Deep Green
  2. Gratitude
  3. Lyla
  4. Air Stryp
  5. Hymnostic
  6. Forest Green
  7. OMDB
  8. People Lullaby
  9. I Won't Run From It
  10. Melt
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Added on: July 12, 2018