Tuesday, April 5, 2011
PJ HARVEY - LET ENGLAND SHAKE
A hallmark of her career is that she never repeats herself. So you never know what you'll get, or if you'll like it.
Let England Shake is really different from her past work. Musically, it's as far from her punk blues beginnings as she's ever gotten. On this album, it sounds like she's never left the U.K. It's very British somehow, but I wouldn't compare it to any specific examples of British music. That's the thing about PJ Harvey, she always sounds like herself. I want to say it's like British folk, but it doesn't sound like Bert Jansch or Richard Thompson.
Also, PJ usually writes about herself, and on this one she is writing, as the title insinuates, about England. Specifically war in England, World War I. She's writing a lot about the horrors of war, which obviously resonates today. She's not gonna do a Devils and Dust or a Rage Against The Machine album. But when she sings about dead bodies dropping, it doesn't matter what war she's talking about, does it?
I don't love every PJ Harvey album... her last one, John Parrish + PJ Harvey's AWoman A Man Walked By didn't really stick with me. This one does. Maybe because of the times, it does. I happened to be listening to this today while reading Rolling Stone's "The Kill Team" story which documents some true atrocities, but this one is really resonating with me.