Review

Jenny Hval

Blood Bitch

Sacred Bones • 2016

RECTAL TUBE could maybe be a record title, which screams for attention as (allegedly) vulgarly as this one: »Blood Bitch« is a loud name for an album, especially coming from an artist who likes to whisper. On her fourth solo record, Jenny Hval is breaking free. Too much subtlety can be tiring and suffocating – sometimes, the best way out is to cause a commotion rather than to ask oneself if the concept of accurate time is still making sense for contemporary people. Hence, Hval is moving away little by little (more about this later) from great personal and socio-cultural questions and is instead focusing on: vampires. »Blood Bitch« is a lose fictional story, drawing its inspiration from sexploitation-movies from the 70s. That’s that. It doesn’t get any simpler. It’s still Jenny Hval we are talking about here. And while it is her most fictional record until now, it is also a very personal one, dealing with her everyday life as a touring musician. Even though it does not cover deeper questions – like the gender question – in great detail, as done on her previous records, the »Blood« from the title still goes deep: on a toilet role, it unites virgins and whores, and therefore, it doesn’t automatically stand for sending your brain on vacation. No, it’s still not that simple, considering that »Blood Bitch« is a somnambulistic midnight palpation along the findings of the day and the fantasies of the night. Plus, there is music, too. Thankfully, more so than on the previous records. As interesting as »Apokalypse, Girl« was, it was more of an art performance than a skillful music project. On »Blood Bitch«, the melodies are back! And the listener gets the feeling that actual songs have been written, rather than the artist having recited poems on top of atmospheric instrumentals.