Jenny Hval
Viscera


4.5
superb

Review

by Sam Feldman's Rating USER (66 Reviews)
September 26th, 2011 | 294 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And up we went, blood and I, spread over the city.

How can something so unreal be so visceral? Viscera is an album about lust, but it's also about travel. While the themes presented here aren't entirely new, Hval takes this journey in a completely poetic way, every phrase destructive, every refrain potent. It's the work of somebody that allows you to peak into their id - the view is dark and often disturbing. Perhaps the vocal melodies are to blame; after all, her voice all but encompasses every inch of the record, as if a ghost leading the meta-physical body through all the transformations to the soul that take place in the frozen lake of Cocytus.

Further delves reveal Viscera to be tight for how drawn out and expansive these songs are. A sign of great songwriting; these folk(?) tunes are stretches out and tinkered with until the entire machine just collapses (the Cranberries-esque rock-out outro of "The Portrait Of A Young Girl As An Artist"). Hval plays with unconventional structures (like the completely linear and meandering but always engaging "This Is A Thirst") though her songs have waves of memorable moments. Viscera, even through its massive force, is paced beautifully thanks to Hval's dizzying variety of phrasing and melodies. She goes everywhere on the album; up, down, in and out, quiet and piercing. Whether her virtuosity is alluding to the movement and travel themes I'm not sure. Either way, Viscera is all Hval's own.

But it's Hval's lyrics that create the illusion that this is the most profound listening experience since the turn of the new decade. After all, it's not everyday a female artist revels in her own primal sexuality quite like this. Hval spans these 9 gorgeous tracks literally turning herself inside out. As the stunning closing track "Black Morning/Viscera" puts it: "and upside down, I felt my organs falling out. Through my throat, one by one.". So gripping. So visceral.



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user ratings (70)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Lewis P. STAFF (5)
review pending...

Eli EMERITUS (5)
...

hyperi0n STAFF (4.5)
I carefully rearranged my senses, so they could have a conversation......

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Comments:Add a Comment 
DiceMan
September 26th 2011


7068 Comments


neg

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2011


18524 Comments


Listening to this right now brahhhhh

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2011


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes! Thanks for writing this, you did a great job with it. I like how you mentioned how all-encompassing her vocals are - there are many points during the album where I stop myself and think: "uh...where is the music?". But her vocals are so emotionally resonant and revealing that I frankly don't care.

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2011


17215 Comments


someone's read the Divine Comedy.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

Gyromania
September 26th 2011


15791 Comments


Going to be honest with you Sam, that opening paragraph doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, especially this:

"Perhaps the vocal melodies are to blame; after all, her voice all but encompasses every inch of the record, as if a ghost leading the meta-physical body through all the transformations to the soul that take place in the frozen lake of Cocytus."

Maybe if you added 'were' after 'as if ghost,' but even still it's a little...awkward.

Another example of awkward wording is this:

"Further delves reveal Viscera to be tight for how drawn out and expansive these songs are."

I'm glad that you wrote this though, because people should be listening to this right now. I might take a crack at reviewing it after I finish working on a few other things.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2011


15740 Comments


nope

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

cvlts
September 26th 2011


8960 Comments


so what is it

Gyromania
September 26th 2011


15791 Comments


Dream pop.

psykonaut
September 26th 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dream folk
it's pretty good

conradtao
Emeritus
September 26th 2011


2090 Comments


Love this. It's really, really gorgeous.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2011


18524 Comments


Ok you were right this is great.

Blood Flight and Black Morning are so awesome.

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2011


10460 Comments


RIYL ????

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

psykonaut
September 26th 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dude psyko what happened to the 4/5 :[

i bumped it down you wanna fight about it?
don't get me wrong this is great though

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2011


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Recommended if you like: Grouper, Trespassers William, Mount Eerie.

BallsToTheWall
September 26th 2011


44482 Comments


22 comments no pos votes. SO DICK

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2011


18524 Comments


I negged.

psykonaut
September 26th 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i pos'd out of guilt. i dunno i found it a bit dull in parts but i'm gonna listen again

conradtao
Emeritus
September 26th 2011


2090 Comments


I enjoy the perverse nature of calling an album Viscera. And then you listen, and it's absolutely transcendent stuff.

BallsToTheWall
September 26th 2011


44482 Comments


Not yet Chambered im procrastinaTING.

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2011


6094 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice little precursor to my monolith (coming soon)



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