So then, it's time for another Björk CD - what is it going to be this time? We've had throat warblers, experimental electronics, dance tunes, even the odd show tune here and there - just where is there left for this singer to go? As it turns out the answer is here, there and everywhere, as we take in some old, familiar avenues while moving to pastures new. This CD seems to be like a "greatest hits" of new tracks - seeming to encompass a multitude of the styles we have heard Björk use before, but in a way we have never before heard - seemingly familiar, yet utterly new. "Pneumonia" is a perfect example of this - sounding not unlike "Anchor Song" from way back in the 90:s; similarly simple and beautifully haunting. It also highlights the use of brass instruments, one of three seemingly recurring motifs on this album (the others being Chinese instruments and ships' horns).
"Earth Intruders" is the opener, and jumps for the jugular from the very beginning - the physical incarnation of Björk's own "Army of Me" marching into your eardrums - as is typical though the army fades into the distance long before the end of the track, leaving an assortment of boats and ship horns to keep the listener company. "The Dull Flame of Desire" is perhaps one of the most grandiose tracks I have heard Björk record - ever. It is very big, all smoky horns and pounding kettle drums, with Björk and Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons) complimenting each other nicely over the top (one of two tracks where Hegarty duets - the other being "My Juvenile"). "Innocence" is without a doubt my favourite, pure singing (hence the title?) over a glitchy as hell track - a real high scorer!
Lowlights - not many it has to be said - maybe one that didn't hit the right notes for me was "Declare Independence", as it seemed to be too much of an attempt to take on Peaches at her own game (i.e. shouty vocals over rough electro riffs) - I think there can only be one winner there! Altogether an album maybe more varied in style than previous efforts, and showing more invention than ever before.
Is it good, is it bad? Does it matter? It's Björk - so it's different, eclectic, wonderfully varied, and a sign that the enigma still has so, so much to offer. Until next time then...