Category: PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey – Dry

ARTIST: PJ Harvey                                   PJHarveyDryalbumcover

TITLE: Dry

YEAR RELEASED: 1992

CHART ACTION: #11 UK

SINGLES: Dress. Sheela-Na-Gig (#9 US Alternative, #69 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: O Stella, Victory

LINEUP: Polly Jean Harvey, Steve Vaughan, Rob Ellis. Ian Ollivier, Ben Gorenevelt, Mike Paine and Chas Dickie also help.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: While the US was going grunge crazy, PJ Harvey released this debut album with her band and flat out burned the UK to the ground.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After breaking away from another group, Ms. Harvey formed a trio and went about writing songs, demoing, and playing gigs. The two singles listed above received accolades everywhere, and when the debut album came out, it was shown that those singles were not flukes.

Starting out with a plaintive yelp in “O My Lover”, moving though punk, sophisticated pop, and moody, complex guitar songs, the songs on this debut are varied and purposeful. A strong feminist streak inhabits this album and her fierce vocals and guitar work shine through.

The album is sequenced perfectly, with great pacing, a good distribution of cuts so that nothing is that similar together, and perfect openings and closings for each side. One of the best debuts, period.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: She was a contributor to the band Automatic Diamini, which was led by her future collaborator John Parish.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: All of the demos were on an early deluxe version.

GRADE: A+: The definition of a perfect debut.

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John Parish & PJ Harvey – Dance Hall at Louse Point

ARTIST: John Parish & PJ Harvey Dance_Hall_at_Louse_Point
TITLE: Dance Hall at Louse Point
YEAR RELEASED: 1996
CHART ACTION: #175 US, #46 UK
SINGLES: That Was My Veil (#75 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, nope
LINEUP: John Parish, PJ Harvey, Mick Harvey
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Odd experimental songs and sounds that do Parish and Harvey justice.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: PJ Harvey’s duet with experimentalist and session musician John Parish is kind of a jarring listen at first. At times, this is truly avant-garde with shards of music going hither and yon. Harvey screams or becomes atonal. This was right after some of her biggest commercial successes in the UK so it may have surprised some casual listeners.

At times, though, there is beauty in the clatter. Parish isn’t always interested in creating oddity and Harvey can really sing tenderly. The recitation of “Is That All There Is?” is quite enlightening.

All said, it’s one to file way for those who love Harvey, like I do.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Harvey and Parish had known each other for years and played in the same band until Harvey went solo.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: It’s avant garde, but Harvey fans should like it. It shows neophytes another side of her.