Rating: NFor anyone counting on Polly Harvey's triumphant return to guitar-rockin' form, her decision to swap her axe for a.

Rating: N

For anyone counting on Polly Harvey’s triumphant return to guitar-rockin’ form, her decision to swap her axe for a piano on her latest recording will be cause for concern.

And it’s well founded, since the painful White Chalk is either a studio experiment gone horribly wrong or a crafty bit of career self-sabotage by a sensitive artist who’d rather make sculptures in the desert than play pop star.

In either case, hearing Harvey hesitantly plunking around with rudimentary skill while wincing her way through banal diary entries in keys well above her comfort zone is not something most people would find engaging, let alone appealing.

Although some will applaud Harvey’s audacity in releasing an album that could’ve been completed in the time it took to stumble through the songs once, this sounds more like a sad cry for help.

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