CD review: Let England Shake - PJ Harvey
As a long time PJ Harvey fan, I've sometimes had to take it on the chin defending her. Not everything she has done is as good as Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea or To Bring You My Love.
I remember a former editor being flummoxed by my praise of her last release White Chalk, returning the copy with a sigh and a disapproving look.
But, hand on heart, Let England Shake is her most accessible, while also being her least predictable release of the past 10 years.
It's also her jolliest - and followers know that "jolly" is not a word normally associated with most of Harvey's output.
Just listen to The Glorious Land, a lovely amalgam of folk and Harvey's trademark sparse indie rock, the hook-filled The Words That Maketh Murder or the otherworldly Written on the Forehead.
Harvey, who wrote many of the songs on the little-known autoharp, focuses on the world around her, including Gallipoli and Afghanistan, rather than her usual inspiration from the personal.
With producer Flood, John Parish and former Bad Seed Mick Harvey in tow, the result is a triumph.
* What do you think of Let England Shake? Post your comments below.
The Dominion Post