I own every PJ Harvey record except for White Chalk (2007), The Peel Sessions Compilation (2006) and A Woman A Man Walked By (With John Parish – 2009). Somewhere I have them written on a list of albums I need to buy. I saw this video for ‘Dress’ one night late back in 1991 on MTV’s 120 minutes and subsequently went out and bought a cassette tape of her debut album ‘Dry’ from which it was taken.
Throughout her career Polly Jean has constantly pushed the boundaries of music and art; morphing from riot girl to punk, singer-songwriter to electronic, live firecracker to demure folk crooner; always tossed with a healthy mix of global influences, poetry, introspection and ultimately, liberation. In 2011, following a 4 year hiatus, Harvey released ‘Let England Shake’.
The ‘war album’ received universal acclaim, was named Album of the year (2011) by 16 mainstream publications and received the coveted Mercury Prize for that year; Harvey’s second.
Her forthcoming album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, draws from several journeys undertaken by Harvey, who spent time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C. over a four-year period. Indeed the song “The Community of Hope” inspired by an actual program takes snide aim at capitalism, impoverishment and inequality in the United States capitol, Washington D. C., the realities of which residents know too well.
According to Rolling Stone, the song “…..documents Harvey’s journey through Washington, D.C. in an area surrounding the Washington National Cemetery. “Here’s the highway to death and destruction / South Capitol is its name / And the school just looks like a shithole / Does that look like a nice place,” Harvey sings on the track before assuring the listener, “They’re gonna put a Walmart here.”
Here’s the video, primarily featuring D.C. and it’s environs with beautiful yet subtle cinematography by Seamus Murphy.
However, after the song was written and recorded, a deal that would have allowed Walmart to open stores in metro D.C. as long as they built two in lower-income areas around the city fell through, the Washington Post notes.
Below is a trailer for the album, due out April 15th on Island Records. It was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House (PJHarvey/SomersetHouseExhibit) and is produced by Flood and John Parish.
m. jason welch