When it comes to the music of Jenny Hval (the Norwegian musician who previously recorded under the name Rockettothesky), there are no half measures; this applies just as much to the listener as Hval herself, perhaps even more so. You need to be prepared, so intense are her compositions, and ‘Apocalypse, girl’, her second solo album, is no exception – it is, in plain terms, a simply stunning collection of work that’s by turns charming, alluring, and deeply unsettling. It demands attention, and careful scrutiny reveals subtle details and hidden meanings in her fragile, dream-like world. Blink, and as in real life, the important moments float by.

Hval has plenty of pertinent questions, using them to explore her preferred themes of language, sexuality, and gender, and how these are boxed in by cultural boundaries. “What is it to take care of yourself?” she whispers on several tracks, before defiantly noting how: “Statistics and newspapers tell me I am unhappy and dying.”

The ten songs here are flooded with samples and deep rumbles, moments of high drama and sad gloaming; the partnership with producer Lasse Marhuag, a noted noise musician, has certainly proved fruitful. But more than the hymnal organs and foreboding soundscapes, the instrument that stands out is her voice and, by extension, Hval herself; she understands the malaise of the modern world, and she’s here to guide us through it.


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