20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Modern War Requiem,
This review is from: Let England Shake (Audio CD)2007's 'White Chalk' was a beautifully desolate affair. P J Harvey stripped
her muse down to a small pile of wind-blasted bones and brittle hair. It
was a wonderfully challenging work. Dark beyond the darkest void.
Her new album 'Let England Shake' is a different kettle of fish altogether.
This music eschews interiority and looks out into the world, slicing the
tainted air like a sword. Ms Harvey casts a critical gaze at the state of the
nation (and nationalism in all its many poisonous guises). The English
have never really had an appetite for revolution or anti-establishment
fervour. We watch and wait and wonder but on the whole choose not to act.
Challenging the status quo has been left largely to occasional maverick
visionary voices. The poetry of William Blake and Wilfred Owen; the films
of Derek Jarman (especially 1987's 'The Last Of England') With this extraordinary
album Ms Harvey, too, nails her manifesto to the mast and delivers a dozen new
incredibly powerful songs with inflammatory gusto and unrestrained passion!
She's angry and wants the whole wide, wicked world to know!
The overall ambience of the album is raw, open, acoustic and percussive.
The songs are quite the best she has written and her voice has never sounded
more focussed. There is real feeling here; in the politics and the clear damning
poetic vision of the brutality and the mindless stupidity of armed conflict!
Tracks such as 'In The Dark Places'; 'Bitter Branches' and the truly superb
'The Words That Maketh Murder' burn their stark messages into our minds
with unflinching visceral candour. Ms Harvey stares the very Devil (in us)
in the face and will not look away! Even in the most delicate moments, like
the fragile and almost pretty melody of 'Hanging In The Wire', there is no
respite from the project's overbearing sense of pain, loss and regret.
Ultimately 'Let England Shake' is about our own complicity in the madness of
the vile mechanics of war. Ms Harvey holds up a mirror to our country's broken
pride and forces us to look at our own reflection and responsibility within the
context of a wider world beyond the sheltered insularity of these ragged shores.
Final track, 'The Colour Of The Earth' literally bleeds with a deeply affecting
sense of pity and shame. A tiny anthem for broken dreams and a scathing
reminder of the hopeless waste and futility of war. A magisterial achievement.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 May 2011 01:32:47 BDT
S. MCNALLY says:
Great review m8
In reply to an earlier post on 19 May 2011 14:30:28 BDT
The Wolf says:
Dear S. MCNALLY
Many thanks for your kind comment.
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