Before hearing this album, I feared that P J Harvey might have made her first bad record. There was the problem of being the follow-up to the magnificent "Stories From The City...", only luke-warm reviews of the album in the press, and the threat of the "Mercury Award curse" - whereby winners' careers seem to go off the rails afterwards. Even after hearing some of the songs on the radio and internet, I was slightly disappointed that there weren't more heavy rockers on the album - some reports had compared "Uh Huh Her" with "Rid Of Me".
But we already have a "Rid Of Me", and Polly has never been one to tire us with remakes of albums. Most tracks sound uneasy at first, but give "Uh Huh Her" a few listens, and you'll find there's no other music you want to play.
The Life & Death Of Mr Badmouth is a slow but intense, growling rocker, and Polly sounds creepier than ever alongside a dirty guitar riff on It's You. Cat On The Wall and Who The F***? are delightfully black and rollicking but not in a way P J Harvey has been before. Pocket Knife is intriguingly understated and Shame is just amazingly involving. Even the more mellows tracks that I found difficult on first listens - The Slow Drug, The Darker Days Of Me And Him, and You Come Through - are completely captivating once they've taken hold.
Those that have all of P J Harvey's albums will know that they are vastly different from each other. "Uh Huh Her" follows suit but is no less genius. It's just understated genius.