Album Review | ROCK

Jenny Hval, ‘Apocalypse, girl’

In March, the Norwegian musician Jenny Hval stalked a stage in Providence and bewitched an audience with her strange brew of theatrics and brittle art rock. The music churned, murky and tense, provoking you to think well beyond what Hval was saying, but rather how she was saying and presenting it. The performance recalled the work of fellow renegades Yoko Ono and Laurie Anderson. And now we have Hval’s “Apocalypse, girl,” a document of similarly bracing commentary on self-identity, feminism, and sexual candor. “Think big, girl/ Like a king,” she announces on “Kingsize,” the opening spoken-word missive that doubles as the album’s mission statement. With Norwegian noise artist Lasse Marhaug producing, Hval walks a tightrope over melodic, sometimes lush pop music surrounded by dissonance straight out of a horror film. As soon as the ear processes these songs are pretty or pleasant, the lyrics take sharp, violent turns into something unsettling. On “That Battle Is Over,” Hval obliterates the argument that society should dictate how we find happiness and satisfaction. (Out Tuesday)


ESSENTIAL “That Battle Is Over”