Here we have the 8th album by Icelandic artist Björk. I cant really mention anything about her back catalogue leading up to this, as it's very well known who Björk is and what she does. For those living under a shell or have no listening history of Björk, she has released several albums ranging from highly charting pop singles to very Experimental Electronic compositions, she has followed the same direction as Radiohead over the years, abandoning Rock aspects and introducing Electronica into the music. She was previously part of the Icelandic Post-Punk band KUKL who released a very stylistic album called The Eye in 1984.
My initial reaction to this album was varied.. I enjoyed the first track Moon which does grow over time, but it doesn't sound full, even when it picks up the track is lacking something. With the second track, Thunderbolt, i feel that I'm not going to like the album. Opinions change over time, but i stick with my opinion that this track is very weak and messy. Where Moon was carefully melodic, Thunderbolt throws all form of melancholy and structure out the window.
The single Crystaline was released as a single prior to the album, it is extremely Electronic, Björk's voice does not sound dated one bit. Her child like vocals are still in place and they haven't lost any form of power or style. This track is noted for it's use of Drum and Bass used towards the end of the song with the Amen Break sample.
The tracks are extremely dark, following on from her 2007 album Volta with this eerie, vulgar style. Dark Matter being a perfect example of this, which has a real emphasis on Björk's vocal and the Synth that runs through the track. Hollow is another example. It has a fantastic beat, with great imagery and atmosphere, but it doesn't really go anywhere, it does have a small build up, but it doesn't do anything for me, again sounding messy.
Instrumentation sounds great throughout the album, it's filled with both bass and orchestral brass. I love the Electronic aspects which she excels in. Her voice is sounding as sweet as ever, such as with Sacrifice, this track being in the same eerie, empty style as with the previous tracks, but has great instrumentation and the beat at the end is extremely heavy its surprising to hear this.
Sacrifice is one of the strong songs on the album, it has great instrumentation with the best ending finale for the song. It's very beat heavy which is a real focus on the majority of these tracks. Much alike Mutual Core which follows the same style with an even heavier ending, this track has a real significant focus on lyrics about Tectonic Plates, it's a very mellow song.
Without comparing this to her previous albums, we have an album full of great beats and exciting orchestral compositions with a great emphasis on innovative Electronic material. It's a shame that the songs don't sound full. A high percentage of this album is extremely dull and unoriginal. It's something i felt on my first and still, on my fifth listen. It has some great stand out tracks in Moon and Crystalline, however it's lacking character in so many areas.