Jenny Hval
Innocence Is Kinky


5.0
classic

Review

by Lewis STAFF
September 13th, 2017 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: [review pending]

Language is the issue at the heart of Innocence is Kinky: how it changes by dialect, accent, personality, interpretation. “The voice,” Jenny Hval posits on “The Seer”, the album’s closing track, “is a wordless tissue, the fog from Heart of Glass. Listen to the lips that feed you.” Who feeds you? For what are we listening? Why the fog from Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass (an infamous little movie where the actors underwent hypnosis)? Hval will answer these questions, but only in the abstract; her aims are for provocation, surely, which is nothing especially new in this digital landscape. But more importantly, Hval means to steer the conversation onto itself, taking many folks to task for their role in the presentation of gender and sexuality in the public view, and does so by cultivating a new sound and appropriations of well-worn (now shimmering, damning) genre tropes.

Which is to say: man, this album rocks. Hval’s aim is unwieldy, rounding out delicate folk reminiscent of 2011’s more spacious Viscera with feedback scorched rock tunes treated with the same scope and fervor that marked that auspicious solo debut. Some songs find the head-turning meeting point between them, as one does in the standout “Is There Anything On Me That Doesn’t Speak?”, which plots out its movements in the seconds. Hval’s vocal performance is of the highest order in these moments, stretching her register every which direction, pitching them aggressively or in a delicate way. She is, ah, amphibious, androgynous, playing a foil to traditional roles accepted of women who make music, a process she nearly perfects in the process. In this way, her most prominent modern peer might be Swans’ Michael Gira, another musician who tackles contemporary ideas of masculinity in rock music and art’s role in challenging it.

But again, language is the issue at the heart of Innocence is Kinky. “I try to write love songs,” on “Amiphibious, Androgynous”, “but my words remain in my hands and my hands fall to the floor. Somewhere in the distance something hurts.” Larger issues plague Hval, and she comes to them by framing them in the minutiae. The evocation of Reneé Falconetti is Hval’s largest tip to the listener, but I won’t undermine the album by explaining it here. To listen to Innocence is Kinky is to hear some of the best music you will hear this year or any, on its surface alone. But to listen to Innocence is Kinky is also to engage with it, to be challenged, and to learn. To hear its language on its own terms: by its dialect, accent, personality, interpretation. In 2013, a year particularly talkative (for the good and the bad) about the state of sexuality, gender, and female artists in the mainstream, Jenny Hval’s Innocence is Kinky was, and continues to be, one of the most vital conversations to be enjoyed on the subject.



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user ratings (100)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Irving STAFF (4.7)
If there's one thing I learned from listening to this album, it's that ironic sexism is still sexism...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Snake.
September 13th 2017


21805 Comments


first

theBoneyKing
September 13th 2017


17417 Comments


oh shit

butcherboy
September 13th 2017


9464 Comments


it's not a 5 for me, but this woman has vision and scope like few other artists can begin to hope for.. beauty of a review too..

hamid95
September 13th 2017


664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

woah, 5



it's a split for me between this and blood bitch as her most intriguing stuff so far, although viscera is my favorite in terms of melody and mood.

Ryus
September 13th 2017


17821 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dis my least favorite hval album

AsleepInTheBack
September 13th 2017


6006 Comments


good review. i like it.

NorthernSkylark
September 13th 2017


9543 Comments


Is it tho

Digging: Cotton Jones - Paranoid Cocoon

AsleepInTheBack
September 13th 2017


6006 Comments


yeah, i like it

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2017


24950 Comments


oh shit a plane review...dont think i've seen one of these posted during my time at sput so

luci
September 13th 2017


11870 Comments


this is a 2013 staff list write-up. as wonderful then as it is now

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2017


7752 Comments


If you asked me to whittle down the Hval "brand," this is her most complete album, sonically and thematically. Presented with a vigor that I always find disarming and rich. But Viscera is the best album of the decade; it exists outside everything.

polyrhythm
September 13th 2017


2111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Viscera makes me want to cry. This just makes me swang my hips a lil

cylinder
September 13th 2017


1405 Comments


I love you. Easily my favorite from Jenny and easily in my top 10 of the decade. Important review here. Love that you mentioned how much it rocks too, I think that's mainly why it hits me so hard. Her vocals with this kind of instrumentation turned out to be surprisingly heavenly

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2017


3046 Comments


A plane review ! And a beautiful one at that.

Digging: Lil Tracy - Anarchy

cylinder
September 13th 2017


1405 Comments


I dreamt I was a real boy.. I got no striiiings

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2017


2695 Comments


oh my god i love this i love this i love this
I will posit, though, that what i like about this album is that the abstraction of Viscera is excised in favour of an almost punk directness (as your comparison with Gira makes clear) -- this is almost her "you didn't get it" rebuke, making her approach to gender, femininity, sexuality, mental illness clear without losing any of the nuanced, blistering approach she takes. This is the yin to Visceras yang or some shit. whatever. amazing album and musician. thanks.

Digging: Imogen Heap - Speak For Yourself

Chortles
September 14th 2017


21429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love this

verdant
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2017


2423 Comments


:O :P :~) :D !!!!

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2017


19068 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

O MY

Digging: Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel

cylinder
September 14th 2017


1405 Comments


Agreed Wines, and this one turns the 'blistering' up to 11. Even Mephisto in the Water is blistering...-ly beautiful



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