Bjork – Volta

BjorkBjork is forever going to be thought of by the mainstream press as “weird”, which is a shame as she’s one of the music world’s true mavericks. She came into prominence in the mid-90’s with a string of truely alternative pop albums (Debut, Post, Homogenic) which saw her embrace all manner of musical styles, from abrasive electronica to big band show stoppers. Her last “official album”, Medulla was constructed and crafted from nothing but the human voice to create some stunning songs. This new album comes three years after Medulla (and after the soundtrack for Drawing 9 Restraint and the Army Of Me remix/charity album), but it finds Bjork in a curious place.

There’s a sense of displacement here in the music and epecially in the lyrics. Whether it’s the tabla beats of “Hope” or the Eastern strings of “I See Who You Are”. As the title suggests “Wanderlust” has the air of someone who’s dissatisfied with what’s around her. “The Dull Flame Of Desire” and “My Juvenille” are probably the two best racks on the album, and they’re both the tracks that feature Anthony Hegarty Of Anthony & The Johnsons. They’re the most melodic, but are also highlight a problem with Volta: the tracks are too long and are fairly aimless.

There’s no lack of ideas, (that’s never been Bjork’s problem) but there’s a lack of cohesiveness and basically a lack of really good tunes. Previous Bjork albums melded varied musical styles with ease and created wonderful music at the same time. I can’t give you a reason why that’s happened. Too many collaborators? No more than Medulla, but at least that album had a common theme. As bizarre as it sounds, maybe a talented producer needs to reign here in. Can you imagine Brian Eno helping create something as bad as “Raise Independance”, a repetitive electronic dirge?

Bjork – Earth Intruders:

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