PJ Harvey’s eighth LP, released in 2011. Claimed to be influenced by an eclectic range of artists, from Salvador Dali and T.S. Eliot to The Velvet Underground. Polly Jean uses her flexible vocals and eclectic musical styles to create a haunting reflection on war and England’s relationship with it. LP or CD on Island.
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- Let England Shake by PJ Harvey
Rejoice! A new PJ Harvey album! It's always a pleasure when a new PJ album lands on your doorstep. If, like me, you've been following her for the last 19 years or so, you'll have seen her have many image changes and vary her musical style throughout. I listened to Dry last week and it still sounds amazingly fresh... hard to believe it's almost 20 years old.... man that makes me feel old.
'Let England Shake' is her first album since White Chalk which was a bit of a weird understated record and this one is more of a return to a traditional PJ Harvey sound. On first listen it sounded like "just another PJ Harvey album" but subsequently it's making more sense and I suspect on further listens it's gonna get even better and you all owe it to her to listen to her albums a few times cos they're all growers in one way or another. Long time collaborator and busom-buddy John Parish is on board along with Bad Seed Mick Harvey helping on a variety of instruments. The majority of the tracks feature elements or are inspired by a number of odd pieces of music/prose. The title track features a xylophone playing on 'Istanbul (Not Constantinople)' and there's even a track containing elements of a Police tune. It's not often you'll see sting mentioned in one of our reviews! Quite a few of the tracks have distinct vocal harmonies which have a 'ye olde folk' feel about 'em 'n all. Lyrically the content is quite dark though as the album is themed around the horrors of war (motivated by the conflicts in Iraq & Afghanistan) so it carries a strange combination of bleakness and hope.
She's actually made an excellent pop album here though which is quirky and thoroughly enjoyable from start to end which is a rare thing for someone who's been releasing records for 20 years. This is excellent, really excellent!
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