Looking at their name alone, it’s easy to assume Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra is probably Bjrk’s music covered by an orchestra-a very logical feat considering the high volume of instruments and theatrics typically associated with the Icelandic songstress’s music. But this massive, 18-piece Army of Bjrk-complete with conductor-is not to be written off as a simple tribute effort. Swinging by SOhO on Tuesday, March 11, with their infinity of instruments, Bjorkestra has one message for you: Enjoy.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I popped the album in while driving home last week; and it took me a while to really understand that what I was hearing was more than a cover. The arrangement is an assortment of things, and with elements of jazz and big band also present, it’s never exactly Bjrk and it’s never exactly orchestra.
Some of the tracks (such as “Hunter”) are eerily similar to the original, utilizing flutes and creative percussion in place of synthetic beats and a sax instead of strings. Vocalist Becca Stevens delivers the lyrics in Bjrk’s signature tone, and the overall feeling is strikingly well constructed. But similarity isn’t always the goal: Some songs, like “Hyperballad,” stray quite far from their original compositions, with several interludes and solos and an overall pleasant tone.
“Army of Me” is delivered through colorful jazz, as is Bjrk’s breakthrough U.S. hit, “Human Behavior,” during which Stevens even scats a little. And the title track, “Enjoy,” is done in a big-band style that, without a doubt, evokes the originally intended frustrations of lost love.
Joining forces in 2004 and debuting at N.Y.C.’s The Knitting Factory, each of Bjorkestra’s 18 members, plus conductor, are renowned in their own right and have recorded with an array of different artists, ranging from The Arcade Fire to Dr. Dre.
The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, at SOhO (1221 State St.), tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Visit sohosb.com or call 962-7776 for ticket information and additional details. Enjoy!