PJ Harvey: The Queen is Back


PJ Harvey burst on to the music scene of the early 90's, taking rock by storm. Critics and fans adored her daring, recklessly controlled voice and songwriting. Her much anticipated release has the rock world justifiably eager for her next sonic attack.

A Woman A Man Walked By, which hits stores world wide next month, coinciding with a European tour, is the second album co-written and jointly performed by Polly Jean Harvey and John Parish, and comes over 12 years after 1996's Dance Hall At Louse Point. Black Hearted Love is the albums first single. The recording was produced by Flood.

The story that led PJ Harvey and Parish uniting, stretches back to the late 1980s. The first encounter between Parish, then in charge of a renowned West English group called Automatic Dlamini, co-founded by drummer Rob Ellis, and Harvey, who had somewhat optimistically booked them to perform at her 18th birthday party, seemed fated. Thanks to 'internal band problems,' they didn't actually play, but John soon received word of Polly's talents from a friend, and suggested she join the group. Harvey joined Automatic Dlamini, playing saxophone and contributing vocals. She left the group in 1991, and John quit not long after.

Between 1994 and 1995, he co-produced and played on the PJ Harvey album To Bring You My Love, and joined her band on tour. In 1996, after Polly heard music John had written for a production of Hamlet and asked him whether the two of them could work on music that was as exciting and convention-breaking, the pair of them collaborated on the aforementioned Dance Hall at Louse Point.

Towards the end of the 1990s, John was a featured musician on the "Is This Desire?" album and subsequent tour. And eventually, after eight or so years during which he and Polly recurrently sought each other's opinions about their ongoing musical projects and ideas, he took up the same co-production role on 2007's "White Chalk."

"As a lyric-writer, I've changed quite a lot over the years," PJ Harvey says. "These days, I tend to work on words very separately from music. I like to make them work on the page. I keep books and books of finished lyrics, and with this record, I would listen to the music and see what it suggested, and I'd know where I could reach for in my lyrics, and think, Oh yeah, that. But also, John would sometimes come up with a title, which was really exciting. I was given a piece of music, and it was called 16.15.14, and immediately, I was thinking, You're in the garden, playing hide and seek. My mind just goes straight away. I love it when that happens."

PJ Harvey's current tour across Europe is rapidly selling out all tickets. The new album officially launches globally at the end of March.

Courtesy of www.PJHarvey.net © 2009, Island Records ® 2009, The Hollywood Sentinel, © 2009, Subnormal Magazine, © 2009