Björk

Volta
Elektra Records

At this point in her career, Björk probably isn't going to win over any new fans. Those who didn't like her before won't start with this release. Volta is challenging, confusing and likely to grate on the nerves, similar to the beatbox-driven Medulla. Björk has always relied on the patience of her audience, and on this latest effort, which, much like Selmasongs, has a performance-art feel to it, she assumes that listeners will accept the album as a whole whose tracks are meant to be listened to in succession. Patient fans will find the enigmatic pixie exploring more worldly terrain as she incorporates Japanese and Icelandic string instruments and gets help from Congolese group Konono N°1. The multitude of instruments lining each track make things sound pretty and big, but the appeal is mostly hollow, thanks to the absence of subtlety that once made Björk's lyrics so brilliant. Get past that, though, and you'll find that Volta serves as a nice addition to an already fine catalogue.

 
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