I actually think this CD belongs under “P”, as PJ is the band’s name – Polly being the singer’s name – but this is where it sits on my CD rack, and I’ll forget to review it if we wait ’til P.
As debut albums go, this one is a standout. PJ Harvey strode onto the indie scene with a rush, making a mockery of the half-assed ‘riot grrl’ movement by showing what a hard rocking, primal rock vocal could (and should) sound like.
This album is raw and raucous, yet not underproduced or amateurish. The guitar work is astoundingly good, evoking some of the buzzsaw Jesus and Mary Chain styling, but less of the droney pedal action.
Harvey’s vocals at their wildest approach scary. She seems to be ripping at her vocal chords and baring her soul. While Sheela-Na-Gig is justifiably lauded as the classic from this album, there are a series of other tracks almost as strong. Three of them a played in this clip:
This is one of those great quiet-loud albums… or should that be loud-quiet-really loud? The subtler moments with strings and breathy vocals are just as evocative as the big banshee efforts.
File under: To satisfy a hard-earned thirst