Thursday, September 13, 2007

PJ Harvey's White Chalk

Fans of the raucous works of Miss Polly Jean Harvey, might be initially put off by her new album, "White Chalk," slated to be released September 24 here in the States and a day later in the UK. To say her approach to the new record was different would be an understatement. Mostly gone is the vociferous rock parred with her impassioned and ferocious vocals; replaced instead by sparse sounding piano laden songs and Miss Harvey singing a great deal more in her higher register (sometimes even outside it). The subject matter is still as dark as ever, but this time, delivered in a frantic manner almost inspired, it seems, from dementia.

While my take may come off quite negative, it is not intended to at all. I will admit that it took me more than one listen to dispel my expectations and appreciate the songs for what they are and even for what they are not. I suggest that you do the same. Give the songs a few spins if you don't at first like the new direction. You just might be missing out on something good. When Under Ether is the first single and a good choice to initiate new as well as old fans. I'm throwing in a couple extra songs for good measure, including an old favorite taken from "The Peel Sessions 1991-2004," a collection of recordings over many sessions with the late great John Peel.

When Under Ether
Broken Harp
The Mountain

As always, sample and if you enjoy, buy the records using the links below or at your favorite local independent music store.

PJ Harvey
| Amazon


feather said...

This has to be the one album being released this fall that I'm most looking forward to. I was at first skeptical about the quietness of "When Under Ether" -- it's a bit Tori Amos-ish, which isn't a bad thing, as I like Tori lots, but is certainly unexpected -- but I think I like it now. It's rather hypnotic, the sound echoing the subject matter. I'm listening to "Broken Harp" now and am finding it just as lovely.

PJ can always be counted on for being dark and enchanting, I think -- so long as that hasn't changed I'm sure I'll love it.