Having stated that Vulnicura is a chronicle of the biological processes of hurting and healing, Icelandic pop queen Björk has delivered her take on the break-up record. After Biophilia’s focus on the natural world, it’s refreshing to hear Ms Guðmundsdóttir comment on the state of her own feminine being.
While tracks like ‘Quicksand’ recall the frenetic energy of Homogenic’s ‘Pluto’, Vulnicura is rife with moments of melancholy longing and reflection that are buoyed by Björk’s stirring string arrangements.
Opening cut ‘Stonemilker’ revels in the desire for emotional clarity, its sweeping, romantic air setting the tone for the first half of the album. Follow up ‘Lionsong’ boasts Medulla-esque harmonies and a Middle Eastern flair that coils itself around the hopeful lyricism of the hook, which bares lines like “maybe he will come out of this loving me, maybe he won’t.” The recollection of memories takes centre stage on the sublime ‘History of Touches’ and grandiose ‘Black Lake’, where a sorrowful violin makes the pain all the more tangible.
Chaos begins to seep in with the onset of ‘Notget’. Stabbing, foreboding synths mirror the urgency and despair that the dissolution of love causes, and this sentiment is carried over into ‘Atom Dance’, which features enigmatic love goddess, Antony Hegarty.
Vulnicura continues to see Björk defy the rules that contemporary pop likes to think it creates. Even at this stage of such an expansive career, she continues to surprise, and her decision to unravel so intimately on record allows for an experience that is beautiful, personal and deeply absorbing.
1. Stone Milker
2. Lion Song
3. History Of Touches
4. Black Lake
7. Atom Dance” (Feat. Antony Hegarty)
8. Mouth Mantra
Vulnicura is available now through iTunes.