Fact - Bjork's simply not like other artists. Were most album releases pass with the same fanfare of magazine advertising space and Spotify adverts before permanently entering the realm of forgotten mediocrity, a new Bjork release in contrast is a true event. Throwing curve-balls for over twenty years listeners now know to never 'expect' anything from Iceland's favorite daughter- they simply sit back and wait with open palms.
Eighth album 'Biophilia' is no different, we have a huge concept incorporating nature and space, intricate tie-in apps for every song and even the beloved David Attenborough lending his finest narration voice. Live this is a truly spellbinding combination, time-lapsed micro-films on mushrooms and the body drawing the listener into a strange new world. However it’s the songs that truly matter and strip away all the fancy trappings and admittedly impressive level of thought and the ten songs we have left only strengthen her already rock-steady legacy.
From opener ‘Moon’ it is made clear this is not going to be your average album, gentle harp, multi-tracked vocals and minimal drumming gently building for a near six minutes – accessible? No. Enchanting? Completely. Single ‘Crystalline’ talks of ‘equalizing the flow with our hearts’ while a tweaked out beat that Radiohead wished they had written keeps the energy up…until Bjork drops a heavy drum and bass finale…as you do. ‘Cosmogony’ may easily be one the most beautiful numbers the artist has penned, finding poetry in an album heavily steeped in science and technology a feat in itself. It is not often a singer can discuss heaven without sounding incredibly clichéd, but once again conventions are bent as this tale of space and heaven skips right by the Prog or Christian rock tags.
Not happy with creating the world’s ‘first app album’ the lovely tones of a gameleste, a custom made bronze celesta, can also be heard throughout the album, again insuring that even the instrumentation won’t fall into tried and tested waters. Its wonderful chiming adding a continuity and other-worldly edge to more busier numbers such as highlight ‘Sacrifice’ were electronics, operatic vocals and organs are combined to devastating effect. ‘Mutual Core’ incorporates techno elements while following closer ‘Solstice’ slows things down for stripped back and touching ending. With 'Biophilia' Bjork has once again ripped up the rulebook and created easily the most unique album of the year.