Bjork, Vulnicura - album review: A return of sorts to standard song form

Download this: Black Lake; Notget; Atom Dance

Andy Gill
Wednesday 21 January 2015 14:39
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Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

Rush-released following a leak, Bjork’s Vulnicura represents a return of sorts to standard song form after the experimental Biophilia, its nine long tracks evoking the emotional confusion following a break-up.

Featuring string arrangements by Bjork allied to beats and synths by Venezuelan producer Arca and British electronicist The Haxan Cloak, it’s most musically interesting on the ten-minute “Black Lake”, with sinister string surges negotiating deep synthetic beats, and “Notget”, an anxious, shifty soundscape incorporating Chinese music tonalities. Elsewhere, “Atom Dance”, an account of “dancing through transformation” in 5/4 time, includes vocals from Antony Hegarty.

But throughout, Bjork’s own vocals are the stumbling-block: as she painstakingly enunciates cumbersome lines like “I wish to synchronise our feelings” and “I am bored of your apocalyptic obsessions”, it’s like hearing an android learning how to communicate - which may, I suppose, be the point, but doesn’t make it any more attractive.

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