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Apocalypse, girl

A fearlessly avant-garde singer-songwriter from Norway makes her breakthrough

Jenny hval

Jenny Berger Myhre

apocalypse, girl

Part feminist intellectual, part Scandinavian dreamer, Jenny Hval lives in a world littered with evocative juxtapositions. On her fifth album (and first for indie tastemakers Sacred Bones), the Oslo singer-songwriter balances Björkian levels of vocal mysticism with experimental spoken-word stylings that recall Laurie Anderson. Apocalypse, girl is a shift toward orchestral pop after the noisy rock of 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky, but Hval loses none of her avant-garde inclinations in the process. She explores themes of gender, religion and identity over relaxed organ-and-hand-drum grooves (see lead single “That Battle Is Over”) or seemingly found sounds and quietly unsettling strings (“Kingsize”). “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again/I’m complex and intellectual/Build up cities to be loved,” she coos atop an easy trip-hop beat on “Why This?” On “Heaven,” she bellows, “I just want to feel,” before halting to a whisper mid-lyric: “So much death, a hole to nowhere.” Noise can be overrated when an artist is able to communicate as loudly as Hval does with her words.

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