PJ Harvey’s new album was recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset, on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. It was created with a cast of musicians including such long-standing allies as Flood, John Parish, and Mick Harvey. It is the eighth PJ Harvey album, following 2007’s acclaimed ‘White Chalk’, and the Harvey/Parish collaboration ‘A Woman A Man Walked By’. Such are the bare facts. But what is remarkable about ‘Let England Shake’ is bound up with its music, its abiding atmosphere – and in particular, its words.
The songs on Let England Shake, unusually for PJ Harvey, centre on both her home country, and events further afield in which it has embroiled itself. Let England Shake, is on the outside, a record about England and about war – however the album is not a work of protest, nor of strait-laced social or political comment. Instead it brims with the mystery and magnetism which we have come to expect of Harvey over the years. Her lyric-writing in particular has arrived at a new, breathtaking place, in which the human aspects of history (the feelings of what it is like to be at war, the personal experience of the people affected by war) are pushed to the foreground. Put simply, not many people make records like this.
Starting today listeners in the UK can hear 6 tracks from Let England Shake now, exclusively before release.
Spotify Premium listeners will be able to hear the whole album in full from 14th February.