Volta

Initially with Volta all the signs look good. It is clearly the liveliest and most outwards looking record she’s made this decade.

After three records (four if you include her fearsomely outré soundtrack to Drawing Restraint 9) that saw Bjork retreat further and further away from the feather-light, prancing pop of her Debut pomp, news that Volta was a less hermetical affair, was, in fact, maybe even a party record, made some of us, if not violently happy, then at least a little relieved.

Not that we haven’t cheered on from the sidelines as Bjork went toe-to-toe with many of the world’s most extreme production talents before, very clearly, bending them all into shapes of her own choosing. Or that we haven’t been thrilled by the sight of a striking popular figure following their art in a single-minded manner that stands fair comparison with none other than Scott Walker.

But in the middle of all her laudable experiments with click-hop, and Icelandic folk tunings, and Japanese nose flutes, one question over the last 10 years has constantly reoccurred: where have the tunes gone? We were, after all, dealing with the person behind ‘Venus As A Boy’, ‘Hit’ and ‘Big Time Sensuality’.

Initially with Volta all the signs look good. It is clearly the liveliest and most outwards looking record she’s made this decade. Across many of the songs there is pounding, martial, almost tribal sounding drumming that stands in direct contrast to the introverted, subterranean beats she’s been working on of late. And she’s also hitched her wagon to someone who looks like an ideal mate to get her out of the house and back on the dance-floor.

Given Timbaland’s penchant for strong-willed, sonically inquisitive female performers (Missy, Aaliyah), and Bjork’s yen for gents who like to lurk productively behind a mixing desk (Nellee Hooper, Tricky, Goldie, Mark Bell) – the pair’s eventual hooking up was, in hindsight, every bit as inevitable as the pneumatic Nuts model, and the over-rated Premiership roaster. But does it work?

Hmmm. ‘Earth Intruders’, ‘Innocence’ and ‘Hope’ – the three products of the union – are all intriguing curios. But ultimately, they’re much less exciting than we would hope from a pair of such towering curve-ball talents.

Likewise, Bjork singing with Antony Hegarty sounds like a dream prospect. ‘Dull Flame Of Desires’, however, is hugely underwhelming.

Nothing Bjork does is ever less than provocative and Volta (containing lyrics such as “What’s the lesser of two evils?/If a suicide bomber made to look pregnant/Manages to kill her target or not?”) is typically brave, perplexing and audacious.

But just don’t expect to it to force you out of your seat.

 

Related Articles

New Björk album on the way

A March release for Vulnicura.

Read More

Bjork 'Biophilia: Live' - Album Review

Lush, but lifeless concert movie

Read More

Bring the new Bjork film to Ireland!

Bjork is asking fans to nominate where her Biophilia Live film should be shown, with Ireland not yet on the list but mentioned as somewhere she’d like it to screen.

Read More

Bjork comments on inclusion on Death Grips' album

The Icelandic artist is "thrilled" to be featured on the project.

Read More

Björk - Bastards

Icelandic elf-lady scores best - and weirdest - remix project yet...

Read More

WATCH: Bjork releases promo for 'Mutual Core'

An eventful trip to a gloomy beach...

Read More

Björk announces Biophilla remix album

Bastards out next month on One Little Indian...

Read More

Biophilia

Sparse beauty from the icelandic queen of avant-garde.

Read More

Crystalline

Read More

Bjork in Belfast: public tickets go on sale

Following on from her belting Electric Picnic appearance last year, Bjork pays a headlining visit to the Belfast Waterfront on April 28.

Read More

Bjork for Belfast

Bjork is to play Belfast next April.

Read More

Innocence

She has a fine track record of bringing wildly idiosyncratic music to the masses but this is impenetrable even by Björk’s wilful standards. The song is a caustic barrage of thundering IDM rhythms, topped off with the Icelander’s trademark, tremulous wail. Not unlike much of her previous material, then, but it lacks the undercurrent of vulnerability and petrified melody that characterises a great Björk record.

Read More

Electric Picnic line-up rumours hot up

Although there's been no official confirmation, the word on the industry grapevine is that this year's Electric Picnic headliners will include Bjork, the Beastie Boys, Primal Scream and Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon's new outfit, The Good, The Bad & The Queen.

Read More

The Music From Drawing Restraint 9

“Only connect” was the stern instruction E.M Foster gave to would-be artists. I’ve a feeling he would have liked Bjork.

Read More

Who Is It

Medulla left people lost for words - in the best possible way - and this single honours Bjork’s tradition of marrying complexity with atmospheric esoterica. As one of the album’s more accessible tracks, ‘Who Is It’ is the perfect gateway into Bjork’s wonderful, if a little warped, world.

Read More

Medulla

Experimental and ethereal, this is highly unlikely to dominate the daytime playlists.

Read More

Cocoont

Read More

Vespertine

The vibe this time out is very lush minimalist.

Read More

Debut

THOSE FAMILIAR with the oeuvre of Iceland's most famous indie-band The Sugarcubes will already be aware that Bjork has a voice that could cut diamonds at fifty paces.

Read More

Human Behaviour

BJORK: "Human Behaviour" (Mother)

Read More
 

Advertise With Us


For information including benefits, key facts, figures and rates for advertising with Hot Press, click below

Advertise

Find us elsewhere