Jenny Hval – Apocalypse, Girl
"Think big girl, think big like a King," begins Jenny Hval on her first album for Sacred Bones – one which journeys from the Norwegian artist's bedroom to bible belts in both her homeland and the US, before ultimately seeing Hval lose herself and express a wish to be unborn amidst the lapping drones of ten minute closer Holy Land. It's a line that's everything in indicating Hval's pursuit of intentionally hefty themes. Religious imagery springs up everywhere, from "clinging onto heaven" on That Battle Is Over's Felt Mountain-reminiscent murmurs, to comparing her age to Jesus' on the string-embellished richness of Heaven.
Hval continues a long-held fascination in exploring gender roles on Sabbath, as well as taking on tabloid media and the expectations they propagate on women, her voice thick with sarcasm when spitting "feminism's over and socialism's over." It's her frequent attempts to empathise with these opposing views – doing so with a stunning vocal performance dilating from breathy spoken word to sky-gazing operatics – that makes for an incredibly arresting commentary on the state of the West. [Simon Jay Catling]