Monday, July 01, 2013

PJ Harvey "Let England Shake" (2011)

I went off P.J. Harvey after seeing her play a gig at Glastonbury with a load of session muso gobshites from central casting and then listening to the Uh Huh Her album and thinking it had nothing going for it. People told me the White Chalk album was worth getting but it was over for me. Then the Let England Shake album came out and people said that was good too, but I wasn't having it - you can't go back, I said.

But now I have cracked. And this record is brilliant. You probably already know this so I will not say too much about it. The lyrics are about War and The State Of Britain Today and that kind of thing, though they are bit too poetic and allusive to have a very specific message even if this is always described as a political album. The music has an appealing looseness, with some guitary stuff and also a fair amount of Ms Harvey playing the autoharp.

The whole album is endlessly fascinating, but the big track here is 'The Last Living Rose', a song that begins with the lines 'Goddamn Europeans / Take me back to beautiful England' before running through all the ways England has gone to shit, combined with a subtle variant of the classic P.J. Harvey guitar sound. It is the kind of song to which I can endlessly re-listen.

One of the more bizarre things I found on the internet through This Is My Jam was a recording of P.J. Harvey on the Andrew Marr programme playing 'The Last Living Rose' to David Cameron. I encourage you to seek it out, and to also seek out Let England Shake if you have not done so already.

image source (Guardian)

And did I mention This Is My Jam? If you do not know what it is, click here. And here is me on This Is My Jam

An inuit panda production

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