Review: Lost Girls strike experimental gold on ‘Menneskekollektivet’

Håvard Volden, pictured left, and Jenny Hval, pictured right, are members of Lost Girls. (Courtesy of Under The Radar)Håvard Volden, pictured left, and Jenny Hval, pictured right, are members of Lost Girls. (Courtesy of Under The Radar)

Jada Hester, Correspondent

“Menneskekollektivet” means “human collective” in Norwegian, and this album likely couldn’t be described any better than a collection of human thought and emotions.

Lost Girls, comprised of Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden, released this LP on March 26, 2021. Though much of the album’s lyrics border on nonsensical, the vibes and sounds feel as though they’re floating in space, with heavy synth and drum beats.

“Menneskekollektivet” is the album’s beginning track, a whopping 12 minutes long, in which Hval sings about selflessness in her music. 

“Perhaps that thing about selflessness boils down to my own / limited understanding of selflessness / To me, selflessness has a lot to do with singing / To sing is a selfless act, or at least, potentially a selfless act / Singing could, should be about compassion.” 

The lyrics in the opening track make up for its length, and the drums that kick in halfway through are worth the wait.

It’s interesting that no song on the album follows the usual song pattern of lyric-chorus-lyric. The experimentalism the Hval and Volden bring to the table makes for a captivated audience. 

For example, in “Real Life,” the final song on the album, Hval’s voice overlaps in a haunting, unsteady way until she begins speaking the lyrics. “Where we die we become paper / Charcoals and a marker pen / Meanwhile we are merely content / Creators of what is called real life.”

For every great song, though, another one flops. “Carried by Invisible Bodies” is a track in which Hval speaks about writing, fiction, reality and body parts in a somewhat rambling way that’s difficult to follow. 

In addition, “Love, Lovers” is another long, 15-minute track with lyrics that don’t really link up the way you expect them to. The music is lovely and wistful, but it’s difficult to connect to a song that you don’t feel like you understand.

Even with some lyrics that don’t make a lot of sense, an experimental album is supposed to be just that – an experiment into music that hasn’t been created before. 

Lost Girls have definitely struck gold on something new with “Menneskekollektivet.” If you’re looking for feel-good, tranquil music that you don’t need to focus intently on, this album is a great place to start.

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