January 29, 2007 12:00 PM



On her challenging second album Ys (pronounced “ees”), indie singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom out-Björks Björk with an avant-garde suite of five songs that make up for in adventurousness what they lack in accessibility. Defying the laws of conventional pop-song structure, the whole thing connects and builds with an almost classical construction, with each movement stretching out to as much as 17 minutes. Floating atop the orchestral arrangements is Newsom, with her heavenly harp work and a voice that is a quirky cross between Björk and Billie Holiday.

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