Björk’s first full album after her acclaimed role in ”Dancer in the Dark,” Vespertine (out Aug. 28) marks a genuine left turn. Veering away from the strings-und-drang approach of 1997’s ”Homogenic,” she’s made her quietest, most subdued record — a collection of in-and-outta-love meditations set to airport-music keyboards, dragged-foot rhythms, and the occasional angelic choir and plucked harp. When it all comes together, as on ”Hidden Place” or ”It’s Not Up to You,” Björk and her electronica collaborators create moving interplanetary chorals. ”Vespertine” is also her most erotic work. The intimate details tucked into ”Cocoon” and ”Harm of Will,” like the music, connect the physical with the spiritual.
Björk remains an eccentric creature. On ”Vespertine,” her lyrics occasionally dive into the deep end (”threading the glacier head”?), and her voice is at times stiff, as if the Iceland-born singer is working her way through the lyrics phonetically. Yet like a distaff Radiohead, Björk demands admiration for the way in which she relentlessly jiggers with her vision. (In fact, ”Vespertine” is a better companion to ”Kid A” than ”Amnesiac” is.) For all of her quirks, she still seems grounded.