Review: Björk, ‘Voltaic’

Björk, ‘Voltaic’: Aidin Vaziri | Despite the involvement of Nelly Furtado beat supplier Timbaland, the drummer out of Lightning Bolt and cross-dressing warbler Anthony Hegarty, Björk’s last studio album was a bit of a snooze. But the Icelandic pop oddity isn’t quite ready to leave “Volta” behind. As has become her style, she has unloaded a small cargo vessel of bonus material at the record store to supplement her most recent release, the main attraction being this relatively straightforward live CD/DVD set. The music portion isn’t quite what you might expect: It wasn’t recorded on a stage but rather in one take at London’s Olympic Studios three days after her band appeared at the Glastonbury Festival in 2007. The gnarled songs from “Volta” (and several from her previous release, “Medulla”) remain beyond rehabilitation, but the upgrades of old favorites like “Hunter” and “Pagan Poetry” make it worth the effort. The visual half, however, is what makes this set essential. Pairing a big-budget concert filmed in Paris with a raw five-song set recorded in a Reykjavik church, it breathtakingly documents the spectacle, voice and forehead-slapping genius that drives the woman with what has to be the best wardrobe in pop.

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