To differing extents, uncertainty, and even fear, have always clouded Jenny Hval’s music. This is no insult. It’s led to some of the most singular, spellbinding albums in recent memory, from the clinical yet sticky observations of Innocence is Kinky to the obsessive, often haunting Blood Bitch. She seemed an artist sure to be forever grounded in the darker corners of our collective psyche, finding inspiration in the murkiest corners of her mind.

Well, lo and behold, she’s pulled a complete about face with The Practice of Love. To be sure, the melancholy is still there, particularly rearing its head during spoken word pieces that play closer to conversations, but Jenny Hval has never more readily embraced the world. Having long opened her doors to depravity, dread, and even literal vampirism, she is now an artist ready to open herself up to all the beauty she’s previously preferred to view from a safe, sterile distance.

Indeed, The Practice of Love opens with the softest of orders, spoken by Vivian Wang: “Look at these trees/ look at this grass/ look at those clouds/ look at them now,” but Hval uses the sonic terrain to make each word feel akin to revelation. It’s immediately tempting to take a stroll among foliage yourself, and then the music truly seeps in around you. Compared to the often dense structures of her work in the past, the album possesses a near looseness, comfortable letting itself drift between lulling electronic backdrops, more groove than orchestration. The music supporting her here could even be described as catchy.

It may well take some getting used to. With a loyal following who’ve grown accustomed to her stalwart, even world-wrending observations, the sheer loving nature of this LP can be jarring. Yet, upon opening oneself to its embrace, free of reservations, it proves to stand among Hval’s very best work. Where other albums have been open challenges, The Practice of Love is immediate. Where Hval has often been defensive, here she has no walls whatsoever. She’s practically invited us into her kitchen, set a place, and engaged her audience in conversation.

She’s also warmly invited in the greatest bevy of collaborators to ever grace a Jenny Hval LP. Australian singer Laura Jean and the incomparable Félicia Atkinson provide often subtle backing vocals throughout, while Vivian Wang of Singaporean band The Observatory prominently appears, offering vocals and an impactful conversation (which was apparently recorded immediately following brain surgery, no less). They each provide honest, and at times self-deprecating, reflections on their own humanity that smoothly underscore Hval’s own exploration of her inner-self.

As Hval gently repeats on ‘High Alice’: “We all want something better.” Letting her guard down, at the most casual she’s ever been, Jenny Hval has never come closer to a universal truth. If she’s often felt to have been speaking from on high, Hval has never been more purely human than on The Practice of Love.