Album Review

Jenny Hval - Classic Objects

The audible equivalent of a painting affixed with human hair.

“There was a painter in my first studio space,” Jenny Hval recalls on the title track of ‘Classic Objects’. “I remember she used to attach her own hair to her paintings.” Delivered with a conversational tone that runs throughout this eighth studio album, it holds up a mirror to Jenny’s pairing of the abstract and the personal. Much like the physical incorporation of the painter’s body into their work, ‘Classic Objects’ places personal experience front and centre, yet envelops it in a conceptual bubble. Not new to turning private developments into works of art, here Jenny adopts a new level of candour. Inspired by the lack of artistry during the pandemic, ‘Classic Objects’ is the response to a question asked by many over the past two years: Who am I? The answer lies throughout several personal stories, each recounted with a matter-of-factness at odds with the otherworldly sound. On standout ‘American Coffee’, a tale of global exploration is momentarily replaced by French philosophy, leading to a disarmingly abrupt finish. The album’s two epic set pieces close with natural sounds that directly contradict the tangible nature of the story at hand. ‘Cemetery Of Splendour’ concludes with a spoken list of objects, painting a haunting picture of the balance of the natural world and humanity. It all accompanies a sound that harks at traditionalism and modernity, driven by Jenny’s distinctive soft vocals. Yet what on previous records had created something ethereal and untouchable here generates something altogether more physical and tactile. ‘Classic Objects’ walks the line between art and humanity, between nature and fabrication, between the real and the conceptual. It’s the audible equivalent of a painting affixed with human hair.

Tags: Jenny Hval, Reviews, Album Reviews

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