PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

(Vagrant)


Rating: NNNN


Almost 20 years and 10 albums into her career, Polly Jean Harvey continues to surprise and evolve. On Let England Shake, she works with repeat collaborators Mick Harvey, Jean-Marc Butty and John Parish to create a world where the past rubs up against the present, both musically and lyrically. Harvey’s signature clean guitar sound winds its way around horns and heavy percussion.

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Harvey looks at Britain’s engagement in various wars and the effects of imperialism, her lyrics both scathing and heartbreaking. Sometimes her voice takes on a ghost-like screech, while at others she sounds overwhelmed by the gravity of what she’s singing.

The songs of a woman whose homeland is “weighted down with silent dead,” Let England Shake isn’t Harvey’s political soapbox. It’s a passionate portrait of the human and communal costs of war, and the systems that keep us fighting.

Top track: On Battleship Hill

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