Norwegian songstress and experimental musician Jenny Hval (with a silent ‘h’, it is pronounced ‘vaal’) is back with a new album and a short string of dates, including shows in Amsterdam and Brussels this week.
The album is entitled Apocalypse, Girl and was released on 6 June (on Sacred Bones Records). This is the third one she’s put out alone, and follows on from the LP she released with Susanna last year (Meshes of Voices).
According to her record label, the new album is a “hallucinatory narrative that exists somewhere between fiction and reality, a post-op fever dream, a colourful timelapse of death and rebirth, close-ups of impossible bodies – all told through the language of transgressive pop music.” The album has dark undercurrents, though as she describes in this interview (courtesy of Subbacultcha), she made it “purely just to make something that made me feel happy, something that was very beautiful.”
Sublime and surreal sounds
Sexuality and sexual imagery are high on the agenda (not least on ‘Kingsize’), with Hval’s vocals floating airily above throughout, cutting through here and there with spoken word and subtle beats rising to crescendos, for instance on ‘Heaven’. Enquiring and questioning: the album starts with her asking “What it is to take care of yourself?”; and is at its most sublime on the track ‘Why This?’ Self doubt causes crises on the beautiful ‘Angels and Anaemia’, which is almost hymnal in parts; and it is here – midway through the album – that the number of religion-related titles might jump out at you, along with those already mentioned there’s also ‘Sabbath’ and the final track ‘Holy Land’, that takes you on a meditative journey through the surreal dreamscape with the mantra, “I understand why people want to feel reborn.”
Jenny Hval is currently on the road with Apocalypse, Girl and performing the songs and melodies from this album in a unique, live setting. Catch her while you can, exploding with her personas on stage this week at Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam on 17 June as part of The Rest is Noise festival (tickets here) and Botanique, Brussels on 18 June (tickets here). The new album is currently available for streaming via 3voor12 here.
Facebook The Rest is Noise: Jenny Hval
Website Jenny Hval
Apocalypse, Girl Released 6 June 2015
02. Take Care Of Yourself
03. That Battle Is Over
04. White Underground
06. Why This?
07. Some Days
09. Angels and Anaemia
10. Holy Land
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