Monday, 14 February 2011

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

Out today in the UK on Island Records and tomorrow in the U.S., PJ Harvey's latest album, more than two-years in the making, is an epic and unsettling exploration of war and violent conflict. Harvey stated that she focused on writing the lyrics before creating the music and this is certainly evident in the poetic language and structure of the songs, particularly on the stunning All & Everyone, a career peak for the songwriter, for which Let England Shake marks album number eight. Harvey's high pitched and occasionally shrill vocal delivery rides atop choppy electric guitars and pounding drums informed by folk conventions that have been re-appropriated into a new sound that lies in a no-man's land between past and present. The album is entirely focused on war and its associated themes and indeed it's a dense and difficult work to get through but due to the amount of research Harvey admittedly undertook in preparation for its creation it certainly is engrossing with a bizarre air of authenticity. Let England Shake is undoubtedly a monumental achievement, a brave experimental move but one that has led to the most unique and arresting addition to Harvey's lengthy discography.

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