The Period Piece

May 12 • By • 1335 Views • No Comments on The Period Piece Albums, Issue 16 // May 2013, NOR REVIEWS

6 .9 Jenny Hval  by  Innocence is Kinky
Released: 04/19/2013 • Label: Rune Grammofon

Man, there’s a million ways to say it- but bottom line, I’m a bit disappointed. Record comes in the mail. Greedily play it, over and over. Decide to step away from it for a week and come back to it. Come back to it. Decide to step away from it for two weeks and come back to it. Come back to it.

I really dug Viscera (track from Viscera‘s “Blood Flight” live below). But let’s be dead honest, this ain’t Viscera. Key standout track, the one first publicly released: “Memphisto In the Water.”

The other day I was sifting through my record collection. I’d accumulated heaps of “junk” records over the years, dollar thrift buys and whatnot. I made a resolution to listen through each-and-every-one before shoveling it in the official junk pile. Random assortment of Kinks, Rod Stewart, compilations, Journey, etc. One particular Pretenders album made me think, “Wow, this is really like listening to current trendy female x artist.” Mediocre pop songs and a 80’s production that was just so– period piece. I started to think in thirty years time, what albums are we going to listen to and recall as being characteristic of that time, but throwaway-able?

You certainly can’t ding me for not understanding the feminist, sexual nature of this album. In Innocence is Kinky, she’s explicit. But it’s like she never allows for the kind of musical gratification/climax of, “Portrait of the Young Girl as an Artist”. Many songs on Innocence is Kinky are like a long monotonous tease. Sprinkles of literary references and cut-up sampling. I feel like I’m a teenager girl memorizing Sylvia Plath poems.

Good points: the voice-recitation could so often verge on melodramatic pretentiousness, but is pulled off with conviction. It’s that awkward space theater types put you in, for purposes of self-awareness, or whatever. Has a touch of the contrived feeling of art installations, like you’re tip toeing and trying not to interrupt because it’s “art”. It comes from a place that’s painfully genuine and hard to ignore.

Bad points: underneath the commas and disjointed verses, it feels like it lacks substance or a song a listener can takeaway. The explicit literariness does a kind of disservice when it already feels lacking in content. Like substituting ‘affect’ with literary aura.

For now, I don’t think this record is beyond me. I do think I have all the capacity to “get” what it’s driving at. Whether or not it succeeds (or if I’ll ever feel connected to this record) is whole nother pie.



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