The Practice of Love by Jenny Hval

Musical witch lady Jenny Hval is back to cast her sonic hexes ‘pon us once more. Hval’s seventh LP The Practice Of Love is another fine work of modern-day Gothicism from the Norwegian artist, one in which she leans a little heavier into the pop stuff than she has done previously. Julee Cruise, Visions-era Grimes and Chromatics are the related artists you’re grappling with on The Practice Of Love.

Limited Vinyl LP £19.99 SBR229LPC1

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Vinyl LP £21.49 SBR229LP

Black vinyl LP on Sacred Bones.

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CD £12.99 SBR229CD

CD on Sacred Bones.

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The Practice of Love by Jenny Hval
2 reviews. Write a review for us »
8/10 Daoud 11 September 2019

“Look at these trees, look at this grass”.

This simple request (or is it a command?) opens Jenny Hval’s remarkable seventh album. Though it’s not Hval who speaks it, instead it's Vivian Wang, one of three collaborators who feature here. Wang’s contribution is mostly spoken word, giving the songs she features on a directness that suits the 80s pop stylings Hval has opted for on ‘The Practice of Love’.  

The title track sees Wang joined by Laura Jean. They talk past each other about love and abortions, one in each channel. The effect is of course, disorienting. It’s as if you’ve been kept between two incredibly loving conversations. Despite knowing better, you’re unable to pull yourself away from either.

Jean also sings here. ‘Accident’ has that same ethereal pop majesty Julia Holter is capable of conjuring, and it's impressive that Hval is just as capable of making this work with synths and drum machines as Holter is with her chamber orchestra. Once again Hval confronts us with a difficult subject, the songs sees Jean ruminating on being conceived by accident. And once again, it’s tenderness of the songwriting that makes the difficult palatable. 

Hval’s final collaborator is sound artist Félicia Atkinson (whose album from earlier this year is well worth your time). She appears on ‘Thumbsucker’, a track that features muted euphoric synths and saxophones, to wonderful effect. Though the party really starts on ‘Six Red Cannas’, where finally, all four are brought together. For me, ‘The Practice of Love’ is collaboration. I imagine Hval agrees.

9/10 Richard Customer rating (no review), 9th February 2020



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