PJ Harvey: Let England Shake
This is the outcome of a period in which Harvey immersed herself in stories of war – from Gallipoli to Afghanistan. It is, needless to say, a concept album. She is passionate, emotional, deeply heartfelt – and in places deeply self-indulgent. Most songs are built on solemn arrangements of a single guitar and brushed drums, with sparse keyboard accompaniment. There are some powerful moments, but Harvey wafts and wails and – at the risk of sounding like a philistine, I have to say she does go on a bit. England, the lyrical linchpin of the album, is a strain to listen to. All & Everyone is a touch pompous. It’s bold and daring... but how often do you want to hear it?