Album: Volta

Label: Atlantic

Release Date: May 8

**** 1/2 (out of 5)


Iceland’s most-touted musical export returns with her strongest album to date — back from the vocally experimental Medúlla to a work evocative of the artist’s entire rhythmic history.


Infusing new musical techniques with her traditionally outspoken lyrics, Bjork creates more than a record, but a landmark of social commentary.

Tribal beats permeated by metallic brass and horns and pulsing electronic effects gives Volta a nostalgic presence. These echoes are equally present in accelerated anthems (Earth Intruders) as they are in commanding ballads (The Dull Flame of Desire).

Bjork speaks not to a generation but a collective race of individuals. Whether in her quintessential shrieks or support of a pan-female Icelandic brass ensemble, African Bazombo trancers Konono N°1 or American producer Timbaland, Volta embodies the world in musical form, responding veraciously to a people.


Album: The Boy With No Name

Label: Independiente/Sony BMG

Release Date: May 8

*** 1/2

Seven years have passed since these boys from Scotland released their breakthrough album The Man Who.

The foursome took a backseat to comparable bands during the early 2000s, most notably Coldplay — a band Chris Martin has stated “wouldn’t exist” if Travis had never blazed the trail.

Many years, and two disappointing projects later, in comes The Boy With No Name, the band’s 5th CD, best described as a combination of subtle, yet sometimes lively tracks. Francis Healy’s vocals are delightful and his lyrics tackle mature themes like fatherhood (My Eyes) or failed friendships (Selfish Jean).

Meanwhile, lead single Closer combines harmonious melodies with gentle guitar arrangements.