There is very little to say about the iconic Icelandic songstress Björk; a shimmering shining beacon in progressive pop over the last 25 years returns with a sublime and complex album in the form of ‘Vulnicura’. It is a slight insult to think anybody would have the audacity to leak music by an artist as iconic as Björk, she deserved to build as much anticipation around her ninth studio album as she desired, luckily however it appeared she has taken it within her stride and for her devout fans it is wonderful to have her music sooner.
‘Vulnicura’ appears to follow the lyrical thematics of 2011’s ‘Crystalline’ yet returns to the operatic form of ‘Vespertine’ and the likes. Although I found her last LP to be an incredibly ambitious project and the inclusion of visual media once again proved Björk to be an innovator, it felt static in places now compared to the opening ‘Stonemilker’ which is dramatic, spanning and full of depth. This could be credited to the collaboration with producer Arca who has coated ‘Vulnicura’ in a cinema-soundtrack level of gloss whilst keeping the balance with Björk’s originality.
You will not find the instant pop classics of ‘Violently Happy’ or ‘Big Time Sensuality’, yet what you do have is intelligent and aggressive alt-pop in the form of ‘History of Touches’ or ‘Atom Dance’. The balladic ‘Family’ makes for a grand mid-point and is a perfect example as to why Björk influence is still so apparent on modern-day sirens such as Florence + the Machine or Bat For Lashes. It’s chorus is as spanning as the Icelandic landscape she was born from whilst the merging with mechanic, digital undertones that fades into dramatic violin makes for an altogether futuristic, bizarre piece of music.
My instant personal highlight is the album’s closer ‘Quicksand’ which seems to be an immediate reflection of 1995’s ‘Hyperballad’. The frantic percussion and Björk’s ominous chant like verses are as spellbinding as the music found on ‘Debut’ which transformed the Scandinavian singer into a cultural phenomena. Her next release will be her tenth and if it is anything as sublime as this release she will make it a perfect score of 10/10.