One Little Indian Records 
Street: 03.24
Björk = Kate Bush – Portishead
Marking Björk’s most intimate-sounding album since Vespertine and her first original album since 2011’s nature-centered Biophilia, Vulnicura also boasts a noteworthy return of strings to her sound. As she always sounds so provocative surrounded by them, here she is awash. This is her breakup album from artist/longtime partner Matthew Barney and, like the best of them, it bleeds with a knowing beauty and a profound sense of sadness, too. It is surprising that it isn’t until the second-to-last track, the elegiac “Mouth Mantra,” that her beats and electronic bleeps become prominent in the mix. “Atom Dance,” which features another fine vocal assist from Antony Hegarty, is amazing, but to experience “Black Lake” is to be emotionally bowled over—it is so profoundly beautiful. There are experimental takes, too, like the filtered vocal overdubs on “Lionsong,” and the wondrously hopeful “Quicksand.” –Dean O Hillis