“Conceptual Romance” finds Jenny Hval at her most personal

From 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky to last year’s apocalypse, girl, Jenny Hval has made a name for herself as a left-field songwriter-composer, complete with a clear artistic vision. Hval’s music has always been breathtaking for its singularity, for its visceral yet cleansing properties, but “Conceptual Romance” – taken from her forthcoming excellently titled Blood Bitch – is something else entirely. The song is anchored by lonely piano keys and a low-growling synthetic hum, forgoing the dissonant noise Hval wailed over on previous LPs. While the sonics are softer, her pen is sharper. She sings, “I lose myself in the rituals of battle,” and that “I want to give up.” But if there is one overarching theme in Hval’s music, it’s her relentlessness, her passionate desire to be heard, seen, felt, on her own terms. “I can tell my heartbreak is too sentimental for you,” she sings, circling her audience. That’s what is most radical about “Conceptual Romance.” Her previous albums have conveyed a strong political attitude, a presence impossible to ignore. On “Romance,” she turns her eye inward, examining the personal. Or, as Hval puts it, “conceptual romance / is you and I.”

Blood Bitch is out September 9 via Sacred Bones.

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