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PJ Harvey 

Let England Shake (Vagrant)

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Polly Jean Harvey is nothing if not experimental in her recorded output. From songs as aggressive, raw sketches (Uh Huh Her) to the more dirge-like (White Chalk), she’s never been afraid to indulge different sides of her musical muse. Inspired by ---and railing against---Europe’s history of war, this time she adds autoharp and horns to her spiny collection of instruments. The first single, “The Words That Maketh Murder” is probably as catchy as she’ll ever get, referencing Eddie Cochrane’s “Summertime Blues,” while “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” by The Four Lads gets sampled in the title track. These playful jags provide a fresh, ironic counterpoint to the heavy stories of battle and blood, and help make this Peej’s most “fun”---and best---record in ages. (It's now been nominated for the British Mercury Prize, their equivalent of our Polaris, making Harvey, along with Radiohead, the most nominated artist for that national music accolade.)


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