Following up 2015’s ‘Apocalypse Girl’, Jenny Hval is continuing her seemingly perpetual gallop of honesty and sexuality. ‘Blood Bitch’ sees Hval keep up her tact with very interesting results – results that combine curiosity with necessity, lust with basic humanity.
One advantage ‘Blood Bitch’ definitely has over ‘Apocalypse Girl’ is that it is easier to stomach. Anyone with an old man-esque vulgarity reluctance isn’t going to like the previous album, and while Hval is hardly making music for those kinds of fogeys and fuddy duddies, ‘Blood Bitch’ is definitely more universally bearable. Songs like ‘Conceptual Romance’, ‘The Great Undressing’ and ‘Period Piece’ are musically dazzling, with glossy instrumentation that backs whispery and cautious vocals.
The production in general is probably on par with the predecessor, but there’s a lot of interesting, easily-detectable thought at times. ‘The Plague’ is a freakshow of sounds, starting with a worldbeat style of percussion before cowering instantly into a dizzying array of noises, both human and otherwise. Speaking of human noises, ‘The Red’ is full of panting – take whatever you want from that.
‘Blood Bitch’ still isn’t the most comfortable album, but Jenny Hval is definitely trying to experiment and work out what the best way is to convey her emotions. The pleasant songs on the record do a great job of making it all-in-all feel human, but there are perhaps a few too many moments that are experimental for the sake of being experimental, for example, the aforementioned panting – see paragraph three, it’s a modest paragraph.
Still, Jenny Hval continues to be very personal, and that’s a great thing. It’s pretty cool to hear her sing her heart out on the penultimate track ‘Secret Touch’, her voice towers over the recording, echoing feelings of regret and passion.
Amidst the noises and hit-and-miss spoken word passages, there’s a good record bubbling inside ‘Blood Bitch’. It’s a musically adept album, and at the least, a fine experiment where the hope overpowers the hapless.
‘Blood Bitch’ is out September 30th via Sacred Bones Records
This Jenny Hval article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Photo credit : Jenny Berger Myhre