Having already released the single ‘That Battle Is Over’ in early May, Oslo’s very own Jenny Hval brings us the latest passage in her musical voyage – Apocalypse, girl, her fifth solo LP.
The opening track begins with the use of words from Mette Moestrup, a Danish poet, that Hval speaks with a lo-fi approach; a contrast to her more common breathy, soft sculpted vocal performance. ‘Kingsize’ brings a self-spoken monologue, expressed over an atmospheric Musique Concrete styled movement; the perfect inception point for this ambient, avant-garde album.
This ambiance continues throughout the album, carrying the listener along like a slow moving river; the flowing motion resulting in a ten-minute finale, rounding off the album in an unorthodox way, with Hval’s heavy breathing.
Alongside the ambient textures of the album, themes within songs such as‘Heaven’ could truly coincide and sit alongside expertly crafted tracks by the likes of Lamb; Trip-Hop themed with its wide atmospheric synths and strings, driven along by pushing and lolloping drum lines.
All of these textures from start to finish are coated in Hval’s intricate vocal melodies, using her extensive vocal range to form this LP into a truly compelling piece of work. With a mixture of singing and spoken word, this album keeps you wanting more, whetting your appetite for what happens next.
From beginning to end, Apocalypse, girl is consistently written with standout songs, for me, being ‘That Battle Is Over’, ‘Sabbath’ and ‘Heaven’. These tracks give the album a slow, surging energy that allows Hval and her musicians and collaborators Øystein Moen (Jaga Jazzist/Puma), Thor Harris (Swans), improv cellist Okkyung Lee and harpist Rhodri Davis all to join together, creating an album that blossoms with obscure and riveting ideas.
Catch Jenny Hval live:
Wed. June 10 – London, UK @ Royal Festival Hall w/ Perfume Genius
Thu. June 11 – Manchester, UK @ Gullivers
Fri. June 12 – Brighton, UK @ The Hope & The Ruin
Sat. June 13 – Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach
Sun. June 14 – London, UK @ Cafe Oto