I'm writing this the day before the album itself is released, but as a great admirer of Polly Harvey's work, I've heard all the Peel tracks before, when they were first broadcast, and still have the lot on tape.
This collection spans Polly's career to the release of Uh Huh Her, and contains, as well as some old favourites, a selection of quite rare and unusual songs that were previously unavailable unless you happened to get them as a single B side. She always seemed to pull out all the stops for the dearly loved, and tragically missed John Peel, and these sessions contained some of her most explosive or subtle performances. Polly remains one of the most gifted rock artists; arguably the most, that Britain has produced in a long, long time, and this new collection is testament to that fact. Vocally she is as versatile as ever, her voice etching alternately pseudo-erotic or banshee songs about the darker side of the human psyche, shot through with deliciously black humour. Any follower of her work will want to get a copy of this, if only for Wang Dang Doodle and Naked Cousin; two non album tracks she generally kept back in the early to mid 1990s as live pieces, just as she did (with delightful irony) the title track of Uh Huh Her. Bless her. Nobody could call Polly predictable.
You also get an astonishing variety of different musical styles, from full-on guitar based rock, through theatrical, to late 1990s moody electronica and beyond toward the slightly more accessable, but no less interestion early '00 period tracks, all with a very different presentation from the albums the originals were recorded for, or alongside.
Just buy it. It's not going to break your bank account, and you'll have a stunning personal tribute to John Peel by an artist he dearly loved, and who for her part, adored him, as we all did. I'm certain he would be delighted that Polly has decided to release a selection of the many tracks she recorded in his sessions for her legion admirers, for that was what they were supposed to be about. Great music, recorded by people at the top of their game, encouraged by a man who loved to hear something new and exciting.