Boomkat Product Review:
Norwegian friends Jenny Hval & Håvard Volden toy with dreamy textures, damaged club forms and experimental no wave atmospheres on this endearing avant-prog curiosity.
Named after Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's cult 2006 graphic novel, Lost Girls is the latest collaborative project of experimental pop vanguard Jenny Hval and multi-instrumentalist Håvard Volden, who's been performing in Hval's live band for over a decade. It's not their first rodeo - the duo released an acoustic album under the name Nudes on Sand in 2012 - but Lost Girls is very much a new direction for Hval and Volden. "Menneskekollektivet" was conceived after the friends booked a studio in March last year; they used the time to improvise songs and explore the realities and possibilities of working together, eventually piecing together an outline of the album.
"Menneskekollektivet" is the result of this musical curiosity, hinged on Hval and Volden's intimate knowledge of each other's strengths and weaknesses. Volden's instrumental passages often take center stage before Hval's voice is pushed into the foreground haphazardly, but the two sound appealingly unbound by constricting conservative creative concerns. These songs are freewheeling, and unravel slowly and imaginatively: opener 'Menneskekollektivet' is a many-headed beast that slowly evolves over twelve minutes, beginning with spoken word and drone and building into clattering beatbox rhythms and jagged proto synth blurts before morphing into pristine electro-pop.
'Losing Something' takes a different route altogether, pitting ragged Suicide-esque drum machine patterns against Volden's epic guitar and Hval's soaring vocals, before 'Carried by Invisible Bodies' sidesteps into a parallel rave netherworld, falling into wobbly dissonant chaos to disorient any listeners that might have been expecting an actual pop record. Uncompromisingly weird and all the better for it.