Björk: Vulnicura - CD review

Say what you like about Björk (people always have and always will), there’s no denying the strength of her commitment or her credentials as an artist.

The clarity of her artistic vision, on the other hand, has sometimes been easier to question.

Vulnicura, though, might be Björk’s most unified and coherent album since 1995’s Post.

With the sole exception of History Of Touches (the sort of dislocated electronics and knowable-only-to-herself vocal melody that constituted almost all of 2011’s Biophilia), Vulnicura combines beautifully arranged and recorded strings, glitchy electronics and percussion, and eloquent use of silence.

And while Björk’s vocals are as idiosyncratic as ever, lyrically there is an unprecedented level of candour here. There’s a proud tradition of break-up albums in popular music, and songs like Lionsong and Notget put Vulnicura right up there.

And in the right circumstances (and on the right system), Vulnicura can sound stunning. It’s obviously been painstakingly recorded, and as a result it’s a spacious, punchy, headily dynamic listen.

This is particularly true of the hi-res download. It’s simply alive with detail, possessing the sort of harmonic richness and differentiation that makes the copious string arrangements spring to life.

So it’s a spirited, challenging recording on every level.

  • Duration 58m 37s
  • Standout track Lionsong Like a celestial choir singing the blunter sections of a self-help manual

Kob began his career at What Hi-Fi?, starting in the dusty stockroom before rising up the ranks to join the editorial and production team as the Buyer’s Guide editor. Experienced in both magazine and online publishing, he now runs the TV & audio section at Trusted Reviews where he keeps a beady eye on all the latest comings and goings in the hi-fi and home cinema market.