This is Norwegian musician Jenny Hval’s fifth album (for two of them she used the moniker Rockettothesky) and her first with an American record label; it is captivating and particularly offers something to the anti-capitalist, feminist listener.
The opening track, ‘Kingsize’, is a spoken-word piece that describes a young woman’s failed attempts to seize masculine power (represented by rotting phallus-bananas) for herself. ‘That Battle is Over’ follows, a track that satirically relates the end of inequality with the words; “Feminism’s over, I can consume what I want now”.
Hval’s vocals are astonishing, reminiscent of PJ Harvey’s White Chalk/Let England Shake era: character-driven and bold, from uber-feminine sweetness – used to tragi-comic effect in ‘Take Care of Yourself’ – to the soaring ‘Heaven’, a hymn to ageing.
As well as stunning vocals, the record offers lyrical humour: the line “the cupcake, the huge capitalist clit” sticks in the mind from the first listen. The musicianship is impressive too, particularly in the shimmering synth-and-strings soundscape, ‘Holy Land’.
Words: Anna McFarlane