Return Of The Ice Queen

Same old, same old.

The Ice Lady is back, and so's her ethereal, alien-like voice. This time round, though, the music is equally far-fetched.

"Vespertine" is a significant deviation from her earlier albums, as there's a major bout of experimentation involved. That means you have bells, harps, flutes, choral cloisters and what-have-you, till the whole affair starts sounding like something you'd hear in a Nordic Angels Experimentation Centre.

Of course, this doesn't mean the songs are great. Au contraire, mon ami. There is nothing new for listeners as far as Bjork herself goes. There's no variation, no attempt at expanding her repertoire - she's just content to spout largely illegible verse in that haunting yet irritating voice. Of the songs featured here, "Cocoon" is halfway decent, "Hidden Place" has a very hypnotic feel to it, and there's an amazing chorus in "It's Not Upto You". But even these come nowehre close to past efforts like "Gling Glo".

Hard-core Bjork fans may appreciate the album because of the musical experimentation. Everybody else, beware.

This article was first published on15 Nov 2001.