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Boomkat Product Review:
I guess it's proof that I'm getting old, the thought of PJ Harvey being up to her eighth album gives me more judders than a crate of Metz. I still remember clutching a battered CD copy of 'Rid Of Me' on the way to school, and since then she's never disappointed me. In fact her last album 'White Chalk' was possibly my favourite of hers to date; her ethereal tones drenched across harpsichord was a match made in heaven, and while 'Let England Shake' might not have the Gothic charm of its predecessor it is no less invigorating. Set against a backdrop of unwelcome change in England, this is Polly Jean's ode to the country she lives and breathes. She has bemoaned the complacency of the current crop of bands and performers and she's right to. The Tory-approved posh-boy lean of the post 2010 set is worrying to say the least, even the idea that there could be real rebellion in the ranks is a flight of fancy, so Harvey's songs come as a welcome antidote. Vocally she has rarely sounded so good, there is almost a Liz Fraser-esque twang as she echoes through 'The Words That Maketh Murder' and 'All & Everyone'. The haunting, echoing syllables that chatter through John Parrish and Mick Harvey's accompaniments might not take hold on the first listen, but gradually become lodged deep in your subconscious, wrestling free slowly but surely. This is dark and incredibly beautiful music, and absolutely enhanced by its stark and important message. When a blasting bugle-horn ringtone impedes our enjoyment of 'The Glorious Land' it's important to think about what it stands for - is it the death of a generation, the birth of a new one or simply a call to arms?