Alternative music reviews

May 1, 2009

PJ Harvey and John Parish

Filed under: pj harvey — @ 9:56 pm Comments (0)

I had forgotten how good PJ Harvey can be. I can remember being very impressed with the first Peel sessions and her first two albums. I have only connected occasionally since then – I liked “Stories From the City, Stories From The Sea” but could “White Chalk” made no impression on me. The latest album “A Woman A Man Walked By” sounded more to my taste as it was said to be the harder side of her music.

I found three tracks that really stood out. Pig Will Not is interspersed with Polly Jean barking like a dog – surprisingly an attractive proposition. The title track A Woman A Man Walked By has some very choice words. I thought of sending it to my sister to listen to but I was worried that my Mum would be there. It occurred to me that this must be the meaning of those Parental Advisory Stickers – don’t play it in front of your parents.

Finally Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen is a fascinating song. I assume it is John Parish who has come up with the acoustic guitar patterns that give it an Eastern quality. PJ Harvey intones words about Erica and Danielle and a countdown. The story has ambiguity, is it a children’s game of hide and seek or something darker? The vocal performance certainly suggests something more passionate and erotic and unhappy. Simple, powerful and evocative.

Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen by PJ Harvey

Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen by PJ Harvey and John Parish (Clip)