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4-Track Demos CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Oct. 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Universal / Island
  • ASIN: B000001E26
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,628 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

PJ HARVEY 4-Track Demos (1993 UK issue 14-track CD album featuring a selection of demo recordings and outtakes including Rid Of Me & 50ft Queenie picture sleeve IMCD170)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Demos is a collection of (as it states) demos recorded on a simple 4 track, with multi instrumentalist Harvey doing vocals, guitar, backing, keyboard, organ, clapping, finger clicking, tambourine & harmonica in a 'one lady' show. This is an astounding & refreshing take on low down & dirty garage punk blues at its best! Polly always delivers the most sincere ripsnorting intense passion & here is no exception. She uses her unique vocals to max. effect as an instument itself, howling crying singing taunting like some possessed banshee. I cant think of any other woman in rock history that lets rip with as much genuine intensity; Courtney? Patti? Peaches? Souxie?, all pale in her presence. Never afraid to express the baser emotions of lust, rejection pain & 'ugliness' etc, with equal amounts of drama & style. She takes that raw 'unrehearsed' soulfull essence of the blues (think BW Johnson, Howlin Wolf etc), and makes it her own modern interpretation with wild feral sexually charged energy, bursting with feminine charm & wit.
Minimal & sparse the apparent 'simplicity' of these recordings belies the underlying level of skill & talent for songwriting PJ posseses. From the delta blues slide guitar opening of Ecstacy, to the crunching dripping with sex feedback drenched opening of Hook, her sonic assault on the senses never lets up.. not once. It is in yer face all the way through, & is worthy of a place sandwiched between Howlin Wolf & Iggys Raw Power in your record collection. Most of the songs here appeared on pjs second album ROM released 6 months prior to this one, except these 7; Reeling, Driving, Ecstacy, H Wait, Easy, M bike & Goodnight; all of which are much much more than just 'curios' for the die hard fan, they are accomplished & brilliant.
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By A Customer on 28 Feb. 2004
Format: Audio CD
4-Track Demos is an essential part of the PJ Harvey story. As the title suggests, it's a collection of homemade solo demos made on four-track recording equipment. It consists of eight tracks from her classic 1993 album Rid of Me and six excellent new songs. Rid of Me was engineered by notorious noise auteur Steve Albini, and some critics felt that Albini's extreme production techniques buried some of Harvey's vocal range and sonic ideas under a mudslide of overamped guitar racket. 4-Track Demos leaves these great songs in their original state to preserve the pure, raw, intimate atmosphere of the recording. Rather than the dynamic rhythms of the three-piece band, Harvey does everything independently here: she plays guitar, drums, keyboards, and sings both lead vocals and multi-tracked backing. This gives an added force and clarity to her powerful voice and witty, erotic, disturbing lyrics. After hearing her chilling howls on Snake and Hook, you'll either fall in love for life or reach for the new Dido CD.
The other six tracks are outtakes that didn't make the final cut of Rid of Me or were deemed somehow incompatible with the album, but make no mistake - these songs are as good as if not better than the material on that album. The best is probably a devastating, hypnotic ballad called Hardly Wait, which ranks among Harvey's greatest ever musical achievements. There's also the irresistibly wacky Reeling, which opens with one of rock's all-time killer couplets ("I wanna bathe in milk, eat grapes/Robert DeNiro, sit on my face"), and the lazy, porch-rocking blues drawl of the closing track Goodnight. All in all, 4-Track Demos is much more than a curio for hardcore, die-hard collectors of PJ Harvey's unique output; it's vital listening in its own right.
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Format: Audio CD
I am not a huge fan of the artist and genre in question (I'm more of a Kate Bush/Tori Amos man), but forget all the (questionable) female 'rock' artists such as the whimsical Alanis Morrisette and the dull Sheryl Crow (yawn), Polly Jane Harvey is the undisputed Queen of Rock, and this album, a small work of genius. '4-Track Demos' is perhaps the most 'difficult' of her offerings, but also the most rewarding. The first few times I listened to it I was dissapointed as it lacked the gentle haunting quality of her recent work. However, the raw guitar sound which dominates the album, both belies and facilitates its complex thematic and deeply emotional content. '4-Track Demos' is the most immediate and integral albums I have ever listened to and is a must for any fans of contemporary rock music. Bliss.
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Format: Audio CD
4-track demos was probably about the 5th PJ album I bought. She never ceases to take me to a different place when listening to her music, this album was no exception. Having already heard tracks like Man-Sized, Hook and 50ft Queenie it was almost as if they had been stripped down to a purer state, giving a whole new perspective on them. Her voice sounds so vulnerable but at the same time so raw and overpowering, you just have to listen!!SHE IS THA MASTA!!!!!!!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
In the PJ Harvey discography, '4-Track Demos' comes after the release of two studio LPs, Dry and Rid Of Me, in 1992 and 1993, but it was recorded right in the midst of the two, in 1991 and 1992, and before the release of the Steve Albini-produced 'Rid of Me.' Its release came about after Albini expressed his love of the demo recordings, the fact that there were several unreleased songs in the mix, and also because Harvey's trio had disbanded and she was trying to work out her next move.

As a stopgap, '4-Track Demos' makes for wonderful, insightful listening. It is by some distance the ugliest, most difficult, and least immediately attractive Harvey album - but that's its draw. It revels in its roughness and its rawness. After all, these are exactly what they say on the tin - rough, lo-fi four-track demo recordings, always planned to be built upon in the studio. Partly the reason why it's such an interesting artefact is because Albini's production on 'Rid of Me' added much distortion, and the songs were transformed with bass and drums overpowering Harvey's voice.

Here, it's just Harvey and her electric guitar, complete raw power, with occasional background vocals, handclaps, and subtle bursts of violin and harmonica. In this early state, it's clear that Harvey's writing had developed even from 'Dry.' These songs are perhaps the most intense and energetic of her career, all blistering riffs and unorthodox vocal styles. The songs are simple and rough, and therein lies their strange beauty.
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