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Jenny Hval - Apocalypse Girl

by DavidBeech
DavidBeech
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on 17 June 2015 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Sacred Bones
Release date Out Now
Rating 9/10

For those of you who are looking for an easy Sunday afternoon album, Jenny Hval's Apocalypse, Girl probably shouldn't be your first choice. Contrary to the breathy vocals and brushed percussion of tracks such as 'That Battle Is Over' or 'Why's This', it's a record that runs far deeper than background listening suggests, perpetuating a narrative that's both brazen and brave. Interested predominately in gender politics and inequality, Hval's lyricism is as boundless as the structureless free-jazz that make up the record's most avant-garde moments. Subverting typical gender ideals from the get-go, album opener 'Kingsize' is two-and-a-half minutes of Burroughs-esque spoken word, detailing the decay of bananas placed in Hval's lap, whilst drawing attention to society's fear of genitalia, a recurring theme throughout Apocalypse, Girl. Such is that interest, that Hval makes repeat references to her “cunt”; a bold statement in a record that's otherwise ambiguous and articulate both. Typical of the record however, as well as Hval herself , its use stems once again from subversion. This is Hval taking back its derogatory connotations, in order to prove that anatomy shouldn't be offensive, and nor should you be offended by it. It's for this reason however, that many people might find Apocalypse, Girl challenging, but that's the whole point of it. This isn't an easy listen, but nor are the narratives dealt with easy narratives. Instead, Hval has constructed a record which feels wonderfully woozy and beautifully ambiguous whilst never once losing sight of its deeper meaning.

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