Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Records You Should Buy: PJ Harvey's Let England Shake

I've only had it a day, but PJ Harvey's Let England Shake is already my favorite record of 2011. That will quite possibly change come Saturday, but for now it's on repeat in my apartment.

This is one of those instances where I wish I had the liner notes, for reasons not the least of which being that Let England Shake is a World War I epic and I don't know nearly as much about World War I as I probably should. I'd love to see what she's got going on in print, if only to read the lyrics (yes, yes, I'll get them online and read them right after I finish this post; plus I'm planning to Instapaper just about any review I can find).

But the lyrics that have hit me so far -- soldiers longing to see a woman's face, the dead falling like lumps of meat, "England's dancing days are done" -- put you right in the trenches of some long-ago, black and white battle, a surreal feeling heightened by the infectious musical accompaniment in the title track (see below), the cavalry bugle in The Glorious Land -- even the callout to Eddie Cochran's golden oldie Summertime Blues in The Words That Maketh Murder (also below, though not quite the album version).

If you've ever been interested in PJ Harvey -- her Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea record is a modern classic, and she also did the haunting score for the Mary-Louise Parker production of Hedda Gabler I had the pleasure of seeing on Broadway a couple years back -- I'd say pick this one up.

I'm really just starting to dig into it myself -- there's a lot to digest here, and I'm basically still on the appetizer course -- but it's already clear this is a journey worth taking.



2 comments:

Mandi Rae said...

Is this album not reminiscent of some Bonnie Prince Billy stuff to you? I am digging it!!

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