Wednesday, 20 April 2016

"The Hope Six Demolition Project" - P.J. Harvey

This album follows on not so much from its predecessor, 'Let England Shake,' but rather 'White Chalk, an album that redefined the artist's trajectory. Although not a trilogy in the traditional sense each of the three contain a similar thread - folk. The songs gathered here and the ones that came before have strong narrative skills set into the songs. Where 'Let England Shake' was with a journalist's viewpoint, reportage of events seen, still the songs, like on 'White Chalk' were accessible, easy to listen to even if the content was alarming. So it was on 'Let England Shake' and so it is here. 'The Hope Six Demolition Project' is equally robust, potent, powerful and challenging yet fears not to invite you to listen nor to challenge. It is not obscure.

Being a kindred spirit in a line of such pedigree is hardly a thing worthy of complaint. It is the opposite. For although one follows on where the other left off still all three remain distinctly different. Same meat perhaps but very different gravy. If anything this album, with it soul found wandering as far afield as the United States, Afghanistan, Kosovo, remains reportage but with a lot more balls than the award winning 'Let England Shake.' That isn't to say I disliked the former, nor should it imply I prefer the latest, I don't, but there is a progression here, a subtle move on, a shift into, sometimes saxophone-drenched, pop-sensible, rock. I found the melodies strong, the words a thing to think on. I particularly enjoyed 'The Wheel,' 'The Orange Monkey,' and 'The Ministry of Defence.'

Without chanting cries for freedom or deriding political institutions or indeed governments, P.J. Harvey subtly reflects upon the situations she sees. This leaves the audience to draw its own conclusions. Far more preferable to being told what to think.

I shall fondle the case whilst I hold the cover close to my heart as the music plays. I think she has done it again. A fine collection of songs.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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