Jenny Hval: The Practice of Love review – A wistful meditation on ageing

Fri, Sep 13, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
The Practice of Love

Artist:
Jenny Hval

Label:
Sacred Bones

Genre:
Alternative

Coming after 2016’s acclaimed, visceral Blood Bitch, The Practice of Love emerges as a tender sister to that work. It is a considered response to ageing and anger, where Hval meets her teenage counterpart, reassuring her that while the anger never changes, our ways of coping do.

Everything is put through a hazy sonic wash, with a sense of intimacy at its core. The record lilts and sways, fuelled by a poetic energy.

Ashes to Ashes is anchored by percussive drive and punch-drunk synths, as is the frenetic, gorgeous Six Red Cannas, taking us to a Björk-influenced rave.

The sonic worlds Hval creates are immersive, the wistful saxophones on the meditative Thumbsucker, and the atmospheric High Alice are dreamy and affecting, as is her use of spoken word on songs such as Lions, and Ordinary, connecting to a pluralism that punctuates the work.

This pluralism emerges in contributions from collaborators Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert, and Felicia Atkinson, with their different voices and sensibilities lending an earthy reality, duality and discourse to a record that is both abstract and representational, antagonising the mainstream, and artfully amplifying its mediocrity.