Showing posts with label pj harvey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pj harvey. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

video review: 'the hope six demolition project' by pj harvey

Considering how much work went into actually going through the discography... actually, that was probably the most rewarding part of this whole exercise, because I really got very little out of this. Eh, it happens.

And on that non-promising note, next up is Drake - stay tuned!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

album review: 'the hope six demolition project' by pj harvey

It's gotten to the point of cliche that I open reviews from long-respected, critically acclaimed artists I've never covered before with the assertion that it's hard to talk about legends. And yet the more I've thought about this assertion, the less it makes any sense: presuming, of course, that I'm respectful and do my homework, it shouldn't be any more or less difficult to talk about these acts. 

And on some level, I wouldn't call relistening through a discography work, especially when it's as good as PJ Harvey's is. Most well-known for a series of absolutely killer albums in the 90s and affiliated with Nick Cave - there's a lot of overlap in touring personnel and producers - English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey has always been one of those artists for me where the critically acclaimed discography has been a little daunting to tackle in full. But over the course of the past few weeks I've listened through every single project and found a ton to like: a voice that can span delicate coos to full-throated howls; compositions that twist melodies and grooves in intricate ways that still manage to be catchy as hell; production that preserves a ton of brittle, razor-edged texture that adds to the intimacy and intensifies the rawness; and songwriting that tends to be tricky to decode, but often reveals vivid storytelling with an emotive core that may seem abstract at points but no less powerful. 

Now in terms of her recorded output, many would agree that her alternative rock side in the early-to-mid 90s was her best work - with the bid for mainstream appeal on Stories From The City, Stories from the Sea signalling the end. The next several years would have her dipping back into explosive rawness on Uh Huh Her in 2004 and a stab at gothic pianos on White Chalk in 2007, but where things really kicked back into gear came in 2011 with Let England Shake, pulling in a broader musical palette of autoharp, zither, horns, and her highest vocal register yet to juxtapose against some shocking and graphic lyrics delving into the violence of war. It's a genuinely unsettling record - especially considering how damn catchy it was - and it reflected one of the first times PJ Harvey had directly delved into political material - and it wouldn't be the last. In 2015 she recorded her newest record live through one way glass in an exhibit open to the public, and with the title of The Hope Six Demolition Project, it was clear she was turning her target to the modern era and to the United States at the very least. So, how did that turn out?