Don’t walk on by this album

Even if this were in color, I still would be unsure as to what it happening

Even if this was in color, I would still be unsure as to what is happening.

Fans of PJ Harvey understand that in order to reap the rewards of her prolific repertoire, one must be prepared to take risks just as she does. Harvey can screech just as well as she croons, and for every Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea there’s an Uh Huh Her. Personally, I prefer Polly Jean in her more melodic offerings, but even at her most atonal and opaque, there’s no denying the artistry present in her work. Lucky bastards throw anything they can find at a canvas, and people will see it and call it genius. Real artists put an obsessive amount of thought behind every brush stroke, each inch of paint, even the ones that don’t agree with the viewer. Maybe the most attention is paid to those manipulations of the brush.

This is an important distinction to remember when listening to Harvey’s newest album. She has teamed up with her long-time friend and musical accomplice, John Parish, who has handled instruments and production on past works such as To Bring You My Love and White Chalk. Parish has also produced Goldfrapp and 16 Horsepower. Harvey has interviewed that although A Woman a Man Walked By is only their second record together, she and Parish discuss their own projects with each other nearly every day. I can only imagine that their past conversations sounded a little like this:

PJ: Hey J? It’s PJ. Did you have a chance to listen to that demo I sent? The one about the black demon eating the feminine essence?

J: Yes. I think it needs more screaming set to industrial poles being beaten onto a concrete warehouse floor. Also, more cowbell. Don’t you think?

P: Thanks, J.

In all seriousness, it’s difficult to pin down the most recent Harvey/Parish collaboration. It includes a bit of poetry, barked out lyrics that could very well be Harvey speaking in tongues, and some really great driving guitar on the opening track. Some critics are already calling the album a brilliant meeting of the minds, though I predict it will not end up in every home as a result. But then, some of the best art is still being digested and debated long after its creation. In the very capable hands of musicians like PJ Harvey and John Parish, I am certain that will be the case here.

  • PJ Harvey and John Parish ~ A Woman a Man Walked By ~ Island

Black Hearted Love [Due to copywright issues, the link to this song was deleted.]


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