Norwegian artist Jenny Hval pulls no punches. Her last record “Innocence Is Kinky” was chock full of vivid imagery, stabbing sentiment, and dream-world sounds. Her new one “Apocalypse, girl” is even more challenging, and if you’re one of those lunkheads trashing feminism, Hval has a swift, direct punch in the throat for you.
Opener “Kingsize” has Hval quoting poet Mette Moestrup with, “Think big, girl, like a king,” which is the first massive statement and the first thing out of her mouth. From there, she challenges gender roles and makes sure you know she is the strongest person on the room, poking that she’s “shaving in all the right places” on “Take Care of”; declaring, “It’s biology, it’s my own fault,” on the icy pop of “The Battle Is Over”; immersing herself into dreamy passages on “Heaven,” where she cryptically observes, “I’m 33 now. That’s Jesus’ age”; and giving into the cosmos on the alluring, thought-provoking, 10-minute closer “Holy Land,” where she arrests you over this mostly ambient, cosmic cut. Hval’s power is not to be questioned, and she will push you down if you stand in her way. (Brian Krasman)