Transient, restless…

5616I don’t write enough about genuinely new music, I’ve decided.

This was the original brief that I settled upon when I started this damn thing all those years ago (ten, in fact, I know…), but somewhere along the way I’ve given into my natural tendency to allow myself to be side-tracked by some fuzztone-infused titbit, distracted by a morsel of exotica.

But here’s a new record…

Jenny Hval – Blood Bitch

(Although, to be honest I’ve not yet quite made my mind up about it…)

Jenny Hval is Norwegian who has, including this one, released six records, all of which have previously escaped my attention. Blood Bitch came out last month to some fairly good reviews.

In fact if you thumb through any of these reviews, you’ll quickly become ensnarled in all sorts of clever writing about sexual identity/confusion; gender neutrality or some other such wordy wankery. You’ll also come across vaguely uncomfortable (if you’re a feller of a certain age) discussion of menstrual … erm… stuff. I may be starting to mumble a little at this point, and I haven’t even started to talk about “Untamed Region” yet…

As well as this, there’s also a fair amount of vampire chat and, well, a bit more blood of various types. And at this point, you’re probably thinking that I’ve lost my way with the whole record, but hold up:


I really like this clip.

I’m always rather keen on folk who can prance around looking, well, daft with such utter, unshakeable conviction that I start to think I’m actually the one who’s the berk here. And so, you start to look again…

It’s a record full of awkward, ungainly moments – dialogue runs into and over songs, there are screams, white noise, disturbing ethers that stop as suddenly as they started, irregular rhythms and a lot of breathy confidences shared. But amongst all these uneven qualities, there are also moments of what can only be described as warm beauty.

A good example of this would be “The Great Undressing”, one of the longer songs on what is generally quite a short record. It opens with a conversation between friends that continues rather longer than you expect and doesn’t really give way to the song as it actually begins. It’s about being desperately vulnerable and ultimately, just desperate, for love, any love, anything, but it’s continually interrupted and discoloured by other lyrics re-repeated, out of context, over and above the melody. To my mind the key lines “I don’t need money, I just need your love, or your approval, anything” are almost lost beneath the repetition of a line from earlier in the verse – “you must be disgusted”. Moving lyrics, wilfully obscured, almost lost…

You’ll have gathered that I’m still not sure about Blood Bitch, it’s got a fair few moments that leave me cold, and, it has to be said, a certain amount of silliness. But for every moment of over-indulgence or obstinate eccentricity, there’s another of startling, complex, nagging splendour, that will not be denied and cares not how it looks to me or to anyone else..

One for the headphones, I’d say…

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