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Alternative & Indie - Released September 11, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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2020 has been a challenging year for music production but at least we can take some comfort in listening to PJ Harvey’s old albums, reissued in chronological order. After Dry and Rid Of Me, it’s time to roll out the red carpet for To Bring You My Love. Released in 1995, this was the album that transformed PJ Harvey as we knew her. Dropping out of the original trio of musicians she was part of, she turned her back on the feeling of austerity in her two previous albums ventured into less monolithic and more sensual and well-produced music. Music that reflects the singer's cover photo, with her red lips and red dress, holding a sensuous and glamourous pose. This brilliant album extended PJ Harvey’s fanbase by attracting a new audience and breaking from her past, opening up opportunities for the future. Of particular interest here is the previously unreleased demo version of To Bring You My Love, the ten songs from the album before they were placed into the expert hands of producers Flood and John Parish. Don’t expect a major revelation – these tracks aren’t early guitar/vocals versions, they sound more like pre-recordings which are already well-arranged with percussion, drum machine and keyboards. Everything is already in place; the producers just have to fine-tune the sound, work on the contrasts and add depth. For fans of To Bring You My Love, these tracks are the basic blueprint for their beloved songs. For fans of PJ Harvey before To Bring You My Love, they will find the singer as she was on her first two albums here – without the lipstick or the shimmering dress. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
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Alternative & Indie - To be released January 29, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Retreating from the limelight after the tour for To Bring You My Love, PJ Harvey returned to her small hometown of Yeovil and isolated herself from most pop trends, eventually writing the material that would come to comprise her fourth album, Is This Desire? Released over three and a half years after To Bring You My Love, Is This Desire? has all the hallmarks of a record written in isolation; subtle, cerebral, insular, difficult to assimilate, it's the album where Polly Harvey enters the ranks of craftsmen, sacrificing confession for fiction. It's an inevitable transition for any artist, especially one as lyrically gifted as Harvey, and though her words are more obtuse and not as brutal, painful, or clever, she still draws some effective character sketches. Similarly, the music on Is This Desire? is hardly the immediate, blunt force that characterized her first albums, nor is it the grand theater of To Bring You My Love -- it takes its time, slowly working its way into the subconsciousness. There are a few guitar explosions scattered throughout the record, but it's primarily a series of layered keyboards, electronic rhythms, and acoustic guitars; it's so quiet that at times it barely rises above a murmur, and occasionally floats away without leaving a lasting impression. It seems to challenge the listener to accept it on its own grounds, but once you dig deeper, it winds up offering diminishing rewards. It is more concerned with texture than any of her previous records, but it doesn't push forward enough -- it's either standard hard rockers or mournful ballads underpinned by lite electronica beats, which would have more impact if they were more pronounced. Since Harvey is an extraordinarily gifted songwriter, the album is hardly devoid of merit, but it's her least focused or successful record to date. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1993 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Since Steve Albini gave Rid of Me such an uncompromisingly noisy finish, it may have made sense for Polly Harvey to release her original demos, augmented by several unreleased songs, six months later as an album. After all, the initial British pressings of Dry came with a bonus disc of her demos. Still, the official, independent release of 4-Track Demos suggests that Harvey wanted to give these songs another chance for listeners who found Rid of Me too abrasive. Even for those who enjoyed Rid of Me, 4-Track Demos is a revelatory experience, since it arguably captures the raw emotion of the songs better the official record. A handful of songs from the record aren't repeated in demo form -- namely "Missed," "Man-Size," "Highway 61 Revisited," "Dry," and "Me-Jane" -- but they're replaced by the previously unreleased "Reeling," "Driving," "Hardly Wait," "Easy," "M-Bike," and "Goodnight," most of which are easily the equal of the songs that were actually released, and that's what makes 4-Track Demos necessary for every Harvey fan, not just collectors. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2011 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks - Stereophile: Record To Die For - Lauréat du Mercury Prize
PJ Harvey followed her ghostly collection of ballads, White Chalk, with Let England Shake, an album strikingly different from what came before it except in its Englishness. White Chalk's haunted piano ballads seemed to emanate from an isolated manse on a moor, but here Harvey chronicles her relationship with her homeland through songs revolving around war. Throughout the album, she subverts the concept of the anthem -- a love song to one's country -- exploring the forces that shape nations and people. This isn't the first time Harvey has been inspired by a place, or even by England: she sang the praises of New York City and her home county of Dorset on Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Harvey recorded this album in Dorset, so the setting couldn't be more personal, or more English. Yet she and her longtime collaborators John Parish, Mick Harvey, and Flood travel to the Turkish battleground of Gallipoli for several of Let England Shake's songs, touching on the disastrous World War I naval strike that left more than 30,000 English soldiers dead. Her musical allusions are just as fascinating and pointed: the title track sets seemingly cavalier lyrics like "Let's head out to the fountain of death and splash about" to a xylophone melody borrowed from the Four Lads' "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," a mischievous echo of the questions of national identity Harvey explores on the rest of the album (that she debuted the song by performing it on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show for then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown just adds to its mischief). "The Words That Maketh Murder" culminates its grisly playground/battleground chant with a nod to Eddie Cochran's anthem for disenfranchised '50s teens "Summertime Blues," while "Written on the Forehead" samples Niney's "Blood and Fire" to equally sorrowful and joyful effect. As conceptually and contextually bold as Let England Shake is, it features some of Harvey's softest-sounding music. She continues to sing in the upper register that made White Chalk so divisive for her fans, but it's tempered by airy production and eclectic arrangements -- fittingly for an album revolving around war, brass is a major motif -- that sometimes disguise how angry and mournful many of these songs are. "The Last Living Rose" recalls Harvey's Dry-era sound in its simplicity and finds weary beauty even in her homeland's "grey, damp filthiness of ages," but on "England," she wails, "You leave a taste/A bitter one." In its own way, Let England Shake may be even more singular and unsettling than White Chalk was, and its complexities make it one of Harvey's most powerful works. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - To be released February 26, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Film Soundtracks - Released April 12, 2019 | INVADA Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2007 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

The quiet ones are always the scariest. Polly Jean Harvey's appearance on the cover of White Chalk -- all wild black hair and ghostly white dress -- could replace the dictionary definition of eerie, and the album itself plays like a good ghost story. It's haunted by British folk, steeped in Gothic romance and horror, and almost impossible to get out of your head, despite (but really because of) how unsettling it becomes. White Chalk is Harvey's darkest album yet -- which, considering that she's sung about dismembering a lover and drowning her daughter, is saying something. It's also one of her most beautiful albums, inspired by the fragility and timelessness of chalk lines and her relative newness to the piano, which dominates White Chalk; it gives "Before Departure" funereal heft and "Grow Grow Grow" a witchy sparkle befitting its incantations. Most striking of all, however, is Harvey's voice: she sings most of White Chalk in a high, keening voice somewhere between a whisper and a whimper. She sounds like a wraith or a lost child, terrifyingly so on "The Mountain," where she breaks the tension with a spine-tingling shriek just before the album ends. This frail persona is almost unrecognizable as the woman who snarled about being a 50-foot queenie -- yet few artists challenge themselves to change their sound as much as she does, so paradoxically, it's a quintessentially PJ Harvey move. The album does indeed sound timeless, or at least, not modern. White Chalk took five months to record with Harvey's longtime collaborators Flood, John Parish, and Eric Drew Feldman, but these somber, cloistered songs sound like they could be performed in a parlor, or channeled via Ouija board. There is hardly any guitar (and certainly nothing as newfangled as electric guitar) besides the acoustic strumming on the beautifully chilly title track, which could pass for an especially gloomy traditional British folk song. Lyrics like "The Devil"'s "Come here at once! All my being is now in pining" could be written by one of the Brontë sisters. On a deeper level, White Chalk feels like a freshly unearthed relic because it runs so deep and dark. Harvey doesn't just capture isolation and anguish; she makes fear, regret, and loneliness into entities. In these beautiful and almost unbearably intimate songs, darkness is a friend, silence is an enemy, and a piano is a skeleton with broken teeth and twitching red tongues. "When Under Ether" offers a hallucinatory escape from some horrible reality -- quite possibly abortion, since unwanted children are some of the many broken family ties that haunt the album -- and this is White Chalk's single. What makes the album even more intriguing is that it doesn't really have much in common with the work of Harvey's contemporaries (although Joanna Newsom's Ys and Scott Walker's The Drift come to mind, mostly for their artistic fearlessness) or even her own catalog. It rivals Dance Hall at Louse Point for its willingness to challenge listeners, but it's far removed from Uh Huh Her, which was arguably more listenable but a lot less remarkable. In fact, this may be Harvey's most undiluted album yet. When she's at the peak of her powers, as she is on this frightening yet fearless album, the world she creates is impossible to forget, or shake off easily. White Chalk can make you shiver on a sunny day. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 15, 2016 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
The Hope Six Demolition Project draws from several journeys undertaken by Harvey, who spent time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C. over a four-year period. “When I’m writing a song I visualise the entire scene. I can see the colours, I can tell the time of day, I can sense the mood, I can see the light changing, the shadows moving, everything in that picture. Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with”, says Harvey. The album was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House. The exhibition, entitled ‘Recording in Progress’ saw Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish, and engineers working within a purpose-built recording studio behind one-way glass, observed throughout by public audiences.
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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Even though she's not quite as overt about it as Madonna or David Bowie, PJ Harvey remains one of rock's expert chameleons. Her ever-changing sound keeps her music open to interpretation, and her seventh album, Uh Huh Her, is no different in that it departs from what came before it. Uh Huh Her -- a title that can be pronounced and interpreted as an affirmation, a gasp, a sigh, or a laugh -- is, as Harvey promised, darker and rawer than the manicured Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. That album was a bid for the mainstream that Harvey said she made just to see if she could; this album sounds like she made it because she had to. However, despite the playful tantrum "Who the Fuck?" and the noisy mix of pent-up erotic longing and frustration that is "The Letter," Uh Huh Her isn't the Rid of Me redux that one might envision as a reaction to the previous album's gloss. Instead, Harvey uses some of each of the sounds and ideas that she has explored throughout her career. The gallery of self-portraits, juxtaposed with snippets of Harvey's notebooks, gracing Uh Huh Her's liner notes underscores the feeling of culmination and moving forward. The results aren't exactly predictable, though, and that's part of what makes songs like "The Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth" interesting. Earlier in Harvey's career, a track like this probably would have exploded in feral fury, but here it simmers with a crawling tension, switching atmospheric keyboards for searing guitars. Indeed, keyboards and odd instrumental flourishes abound on Uh Huh Her, making it the most sonically interesting PJ Harvey album since Is This Desire? Lyrically, heartache, sex, and feminine roles are still Harvey's bread and butter, but she manages to find something new in these themes each time she returns to them. "Pocket Knife" is an especially striking example: a beautifully creepy murder ballad, the song conjures images of hidden feminine power -- a pocketknife concealed by a wedding dress -- as well as lyrics like "I'm not trying to cause a fuss/I just wanna make my own fuck-ups." "You Come Through," meanwhile, is nearly as direct and vulnerable as anything that appeared on Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Uh Huh Her isn't perfect; the track listing feels top-loaded, some of the later songs, such as "Cat on the Wall" and "It's You" come close to sounding like generic PJ Harvey (if such a thing is possible), and the minute-long track of crying seagulls is either a distraction or a palate cleanser, depending on your outlook. Still, Uh Huh Her does so many things right, like the gorgeous, Latin-tinged "Shame" and the stripped-down beauty of "The Desperate Kingdom of Love" (one of a handful of short, glimpse-like songs that give the album an organic ebb and flow), that its occasional stumbles are worth overlooking. Perhaps the most nuanced album in PJ Harvey's body of work, Uh Huh Her balances her bold and vulnerable moments, but remains vital. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 30, 1991 | Too Pure

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 13, 2016 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 11, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

As all of her demos show, PJ Harvey has a definite vision for each of her albums by the time she commits her songs to tape. With 1995's To Bring You My Love, she expanded her sound dramatically, fleshing out the bones of her music with lush instrumentation such as keyboards and strings. On To Bring You My Love: The Demos, how she gets the ideas across for this lavish-sounding album with relatively limited resources makes for fascinating listening. Obviously, these versions are much rawer than the final product Harvey crafted in the studio with Flood and John Parish. The demo of "Down by the Water," the album's quintessential track, is a stylized miniature of the finished version, thanks to the stiff, tinny beats and canned organ sounds of the secondhand Yamaha keyboard Harvey used to write the album. Nevertheless, this song and the rest of To Bring You My Love: The Demos sizzles with the potential she fulfilled in the studio with the rest of her creative team. They also reveal different connections to the rest of her body of work: This incarnation of "C'mon Billy" sounds like it could have appeared on Dry, and once again the Yamaha's synth strings and beats lend a very different color to the song compared to the live string section and percussion of the studio version. Several other acoustic-based songs are highlights, such as the fiery takes on "Send His Love to Me" and "The Dancer," which leans into the song's flamenco influences and feels notably looser than the rendition on To Bring You My Love. Elsewhere, the brash, lo-fi version of "Meet Ze Monsta" recalls 4-Track Demos, while the serrated guitar din of the "Long Snake Moan" demo suggests that it could have fit in on Rid of Me. As always, Harvey's voice sounds fantastic, particularly on "Teclo," where her lower register and startling vibrato reflect the mix of genuine, deeply felt emotion and theatrical presentation that extends to all of To Bring You My Love. Since so much of the album's power resides in its stunning production, this set might be slightly less revelatory than some of Harvey's other demo albums. Nevertheless, die-hard fans will savor the glimpse into her creative process that To Bring You My Love: The Demos provides. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 28, 2017 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2004 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2011 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.