PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016)

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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. “When I’m writing a song I visualise the entire scene. I can see the colours, I can tell the time of day, I can sense the mood, I can see the light changing, the shadows moving, everything in that picture. Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with”, says Harvey.

The album was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House. The exhibition, entitled ‘Recording in Progress’ saw Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish, and engineers working within a purpose-built recording studio behind one-way glass, observed throughout by public audiences.

Watch this new album trailer by Seamus Murphy featuring tracks The Community of Hope and The Wheel here: http://www.vevo.com/watch/GBUV71502053

1. The Community of Hope
2. The Ministry of Defence
3. A Line in the Sand
4. Chain of Keys
5. River Anacostia
6. Near the Memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln
7. The Orange Monkey
8. Medicinals
9. The Ministry of Social Affairs
10. The Wheel
11. Dollar, Dollar

cher guevara (lex pretend), Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:13 (one year ago) Permalink

she's doing another war album?

haven't watched the "trailer" yet, not going to hear new music in that context thx

cher guevara (lex pretend), Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:14 (one year ago) Permalink

"The Communty of Hope" - eh, it's okay
"The Wheel" - okay yes I like this a lot

its subtle brume (DJP), Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:27 (one year ago) Permalink

although honestly I'm more fascinated by the algorithm that put together the artists related to PJ Harvey:

Chelsea Wolfe
Mazzy Star
Massive Attack
Aimee Mann
Bat For Lashes
Bjork
Pulp
Peaches

also that the next video in the play queue was... Michael Bolton

its subtle brume (DJP), Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:29 (one year ago) Permalink

The song in the trailer sounds really good, though I wasn't listening closely to the lyrics.

Evan, Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:35 (one year ago) Permalink

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CZQs3lUWEAEg9Zz.jpg

mookieproof, Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:38 (one year ago) Permalink

She’s launching The Hollow of The Hand, a book which pairs her first published poems with the photographs of Seamus Murphy, documenting their 2011-2014 trips to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/oct/11/pj-harvey-seamus-murphy-review-hollow-hand-southbank-centre-royal-festival-hall

curmudgeon, Thursday, 21 January 2016 17:48 (one year ago) Permalink

Some awful cultural tourism in that trailer.

Jeff W, Thursday, 21 January 2016 19:46 (one year ago) Permalink

"the wheel" sounds a lot like let england shake. hm

HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Thursday, 21 January 2016 19:47 (one year ago) Permalink

this literally sounds like an out-take from LES

she's always made a point of sounding nothing like her last album and now...

cher guevara (lex pretend), Friday, 22 January 2016 14:06 (one year ago) Permalink

I caught the end of the last single on 6music yesterday afternoon and thought it sounded like a LES outtake with brass. Yay brass, not so much yay it sounding like LES, even though I loved that record.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 22 January 2016 15:00 (one year ago) Permalink

okay this is far from a final judgment of course but like 5 singles dropped from favourite artists of mine today and everyone else knocked it out of the park and pj did not

cher guevara (lex pretend), Friday, 22 January 2016 15:06 (one year ago) Permalink

what are the other ones?

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 22 January 2016 15:17 (one year ago) Permalink

brandy clark, k michelle, tweet and dawn richard (last one hasn't dropped i just got sent it)

cher guevara (lex pretend), Friday, 22 January 2016 15:22 (one year ago) Permalink

cool thx!

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 22 January 2016 15:23 (one year ago) Permalink

Lex I just want to remind you of your nonplussed initial reaction to Written On The Forehead.

Matt DC, Friday, 22 January 2016 15:38 (one year ago) Permalink

Too many reservations too early I say. Be optimistic.

Evan, Friday, 22 January 2016 16:24 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm not crazy about it.

**shrug**

Austin, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 04:34 (one year ago) Permalink

was ready to get defensive about artists who make similar sounding albums in a row, as i don't think it's a demerit, or doesn't have to be. but then I listened to it and... i think it's the backing vocals mainly, dreary sounding on a dreary cadence (they worked ok in LES!)... but it immediately made me feel I'd had a surfeit of this sound in LES and really didn't need any more.

she seems pursuing this more as a political project more than looking to a musical creativity - using a template to explore areas of interest. maybe she feels the palette is appropriate. maybe she feels a change of sound would cause her to lose focus on the subject (changing two aspects at once can have that effect i think). having protest songs in this day in this country feels important, but am going to struggle through if they all sound like this.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 26 January 2016 06:50 (one year ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ReW0jJkag8

scott seward, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:21 (one year ago) Permalink

as someone who loved and adored LES...yeah, i wonder if i need Part II?

scott seward, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:22 (one year ago) Permalink

First listen I was disappointed by the LES similarities - though it has some kazoo (maybe?) and wilder lead guitar.

Second listen (with the video) - yeah, I like it.

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:38 (one year ago) Permalink

This is great, you people are crazy.

kornrulez6969, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:59 (one year ago) Permalink

I, for one, need LES Part II

its subtle brume (DJP), Monday, 1 February 2016 18:41 (one year ago) Permalink

I don't mind this, and suspect it'll be more powerful w/in album context.

And watching this also made me realize I prefer Harvey in this sort of activist/ambassador role more than M.I.A.

Crazy Eddie & Jesus the Kid (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 1 February 2016 22:37 (one year ago) Permalink

I know PJH has always employed a "constructed" persona since the get-go, but I have found less and less to admire in her mannered recent work. It feels like it's done for effect, and for want of a less tired cliché, worthy of Arts Council funding.When I truly loved her work, it always felt like she tapped into something deeper and more visceral - Rid of Me and Is This Desire? are tied for my favourite. Now it feels like respectable indie music for the middle aged, or which I am one, but I distrust being pandered to.

MatthewK, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 11:22 (one year ago) Permalink

She's older too! Hard to be continuously visceral.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 12:37 (one year ago) Permalink

i dunno, if she had kept making variations on Stories From The City i might agree with the "respectable indie music" comment, but that doesn't really seem like the case? i haven't loved everything she's done in the past 10 years, but she's always at least interesting to me.

tylerw, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:33 (one year ago) Permalink

the second or third time i heard this i started to be like "ok i'm down for another record like les"

HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:35 (one year ago) Permalink

i would hardly characterize it as respectable indie music for the middle aged, one of the great things about les is the tension between every element in the mix, how each instrument and vocal and sample seems to come from a different source, almost like different timelines overlapping

HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:38 (one year ago) Permalink

let england shake hit me really hard. like, harder than any new record has in a long time (or movie or book for that matter) and i guess i just worry about diluting that feeling with something that feels similar. that makes sense, doesn't it? this is honestly the only new record i have anticipated in years. maybe i have unfair expectations. i salute her no matter what she does! i respect the hell out of her as an artist.

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:42 (one year ago) Permalink

The main thing with PJH - and this happens with tons of artists - is that she switched from mining to her own psyche to mining the world outside of it. These transitions are never seamless.

Crazy Eddie & Jesus the Kid (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:51 (one year ago) Permalink

white chalk and let england shake do make for a nice interior/exterior dichotomy but i feel like she's also done extensive character work, which is of course its own thing, neither internal or external specifically

HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:53 (one year ago) Permalink

i don't think it's as straightforward as interior/exterior, LES continued a lot of career-long themes and imagery for PJH. the reason she's been such an interesting artist where a lot of her peers got stuck in the more common holding pattern/rut is because of her explicit insistence on not repeating herself and thus blindsiding fans and critics. LES fit this pattern! so it's startling to hear her not just mining similar themes and concerns but reprising her last album to such an extent.

also "the wheel" isn't half the song of anything on LES

cher guevara (lex pretend), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:57 (one year ago) Permalink

You guys are reading rather a lot into one single.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:58 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah, she really is more of an album artist isn't she?

tylerw, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:59 (one year ago) Permalink

Fair enough, Lex.

I know I'm in the minority here, but White Chalk is the last time her music legit hit me like a hammer. LES was very good, but...as much as I respect it I can't quite connect with it on the same level.

Crazy Eddie & Jesus the Kid (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:59 (one year ago) Permalink

"also "the wheel" isn't half the song of anything on LES"

for me its those backing vocals. feel like kind of a tired reprise.

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 17:01 (one year ago) Permalink

I love that she has switched focus from interior to exterior. Too many (imo) ppl expect women artists to focus on their interiors and/or reward it (and emotional bluntness) over those whose focus is more broad or varies. I love her for writing about all of it. Women writing songs about war: more please!!

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 17:11 (one year ago) Permalink

I've never gotten the sense that she's "autobiographical"; rather, she uses characters, and To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire are full of them.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 17:49 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah but the monologue/descriptions are still all about the inner thoughts of women, focused on the interior and still falling into the category La Lechera is describing; Let England Shake is pretty emphatically more about the description of external events filtered through a perspective rather than a peek behind the mysterious curtain that hides women away from the world

its subtle brume (DJP), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 17:54 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah I agree with that

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 17:56 (one year ago) Permalink

i swear i mean this as a compliment when i say you could base a really cool college course around LES. it's interesting to me on a lot of levels.

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 17:59 (one year ago) Permalink

certainly Great War poetry

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 18:04 (one year ago) Permalink

pretty emphatically more about the description of external events filtered through a perspective rather than a peek behind the mysterious curtain that hides women away from the world

exactly -- autobiography and interior narratives are different from each other but they are both more fundamentally different from providing a view of the external world/its workings through a unique lens, and that's what I think she does and I LOVE IT

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:07 (one year ago) Permalink

The last album that floored me was white chalk. I hadn't expected this kind of introspective tour de force from her. The wildness which apparently was never per se or natural was totally gone and suddenly there was this very vulnerable human being. LES was too much of an exercise in political history for me. Too much of a concept album of the very boring kind. I was never really interested in history. To be honest i don't care for it. Especially if it is not the history of my home country which i don't care for too much neither. Only the part which is usually not written about in the history books is interesting. For example the big mystery why millions of germans followed hitler like lemmings.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:12 (one year ago) Permalink

i'm p sure there are books abt that

the man in the fly castle (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:14 (one year ago) Permalink

suggest ban based on history

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:15 (one year ago) Permalink

the reasons i love LES have little to do with history! funnily enough.

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:21 (one year ago) Permalink

There are books mentioning it of course. But there never has been a reasonable explanation i have heard of.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Between this and Blackstar, I'm liking a lot more sax-heavy records than usual this year.

rhymes with "blondie blast" (cryptosicko), Sunday, 17 April 2016 16:39 (one year ago) Permalink

this album gets worse with each listen :(

cher guevara (lex pretend), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 15:06 (one year ago) Permalink

I'd been sort of dreading listening to it - a PJ Harvey album that's great if you tune out the lyrics is not really a great PJ Harvey album - but there's nothing as clunky as the opening track elsewhere. It's definitely at its best when the music is at its most brutal or most elegiac though - The Ministry of Defence is astonishing, and the second half of River Anacostia is like wow.

Enough of the jauntier ones though. Looking back on LES there were definitely moments where she was just the right side of pushing it, and that album's acclaim was like carte blanche for her to go well over that line. Something about the project feels misconceived even when the music itself is lovely.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 15:46 (one year ago) Permalink

The way she sings "a displaced family eating a cold horse's hoof" is just... no. There are some real crimes against scansion throughout.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 15:47 (one year ago) Permalink

I thought this was pretty good on first listen but less so on the second go. Agree about the clunky scansion. I like the opener a lot regardless, weirdly the verses remind me of 'Looking for the Magic' by the Dwight Twilley Band...

Gavin, Leeds, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 15:54 (one year ago) Permalink

Apparently, this is number one in the midweeks.

Mark G, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:03 (one year ago) Permalink

the first song on this sounds like 'take the skinheads bowling'

real orgone kid (NickB), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:10 (one year ago) Permalink

take the skinheads bowling is an excellent song.

scott seward, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:27 (one year ago) Permalink

what's difficult to accept is the dependence on falsetto and echo, at times both on the same song.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 16:42 (one year ago) Permalink

the second half of River Anacostia is like wow

first PJH album where the male backing vox have been a highlight

cher guevara (lex pretend), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 17:44 (one year ago) Permalink

Apparently, this is number one in the midweeks.

Polly Jean: How many copies got returned on Monday?
Chorus: I heard it was 28,000

Jeff W, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 20:11 (one year ago) Permalink

this record is good

HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Tuesday, 19 April 2016 20:16 (one year ago) Permalink

first PJH album where the male backing vox have been a highlight

Rob Ellis begs to differ:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYIAy4uF3UI

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 20:23 (one year ago) Permalink

Polly Jean: How many copies got returned on Monday?
Chorus: I heard it was 28,000

― Jeff W, Tuesday, April 19, 2016

lol at this

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 April 2016 13:50 (one year ago) Permalink

Might as well have written 'I like noisy guitars' and left it at that.

Matt DC, Thursday, 21 April 2016 16:59 (one year ago) Permalink

I might rate White Chalk and 4TD higher but: "I like guitars" isn't the thing with ITD? at 2.

Freeze Instr., Friday, 22 April 2016 09:00 (one year ago) Permalink

nah I like the list fine because ITD? is so high

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 April 2016 10:32 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, White Chalk's quite high, too. "I like noisy guitars" doens't seem like the narrative there.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 22 April 2016 11:02 (one year ago) Permalink

ILM is the only place I've seen that gives a damn for WC and ISD.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 April 2016 11:15 (one year ago) Permalink

hooray for ilm i guess

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 22 April 2016 13:36 (one year ago) Permalink

Counterpoint: get the hint, ILM!

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 22 April 2016 15:20 (one year ago) Permalink

Although I like the placing of Is This Desire? so highly, Uh Huh Her is way too high and it feels already like they're revising Let England Shake's reverence based on the lukewarm reception of the Hope Six Demolition Project.

Austin, Friday, 22 April 2016 16:30 (one year ago) Permalink

Number one!

Well done you.

Mark G, Friday, 22 April 2016 22:34 (one year ago) Permalink

five months pass...

I finally checked it out last week---had to make myself listen a second time, but something pulled me back in, like it had to; I'm usually not that dutiful---and now, 3.2 spins in, I'm really enjoying most of her tragical reality tour (though not tracks 1 & 2). She sounds startling and startled, by the details and sheer weirdness of these times, as her voice veers and finds purchase in the dark heavy shiny spiky curves, suggesting a garden, sometimes of wrought iron ---initially thought it was all from DC, so this would be the long fences of Georgetown----or big black vehicles, limos or four-wheel-drives, cruising and bouncing through the various neighborhoods and becoming the architecture, monuments and housing developements and parks and gutted areas and demolition equipment---for renovation, yay: involved framework, as the people surface and flash by, fade away once, again, in her snapshots and notes.
I could go to her site and get all the words, but think they're better this way, for the most part Calling it the Vietnam Memorial, leaving "Veterans" out, somehow ricocheting off "Lincoln Memorial", making me think more of the associated bloodbaths: stark profusion, more sheer weirdness, also rebounding off her chirpy vocal, leading a children's expedition around the grounds.
Quite an emotional range here, but I also like the one bit of straight-up lightning up, when she's tromping along, carrying on about all those groovy traditional "Medicinals", 'til she comes across "an old lady in a wheelchair, with her Redskins cap on backwards", who is taking some kind of de facto medicine from its newspaper wrapping, as I hear it: the folk process continues, y'all. And she follows it, for her own purposes.
Which reminds me, re old and contemporary musical elements mashed into personalized, stylized expression, without hogging the foreground, that she now seems like a colleague of tuneyards.

dow, Saturday, 8 October 2016 22:31 (one year ago) Permalink

"River Anacostia" is so magnificent.

geoffreyess, Sunday, 9 October 2016 22:46 (one year ago) Permalink

^ Cosign. This is probably my least favorite Pj Harvey album in recent memory, but she always manages to offer up some gems.

Ross, Sunday, 9 October 2016 22:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Whenever I've had to drive through DC in the last half year, I get this uncontrollable urge to sing "The Community of Hope" but with new lyrics about whatever random shit I happen to see out the window....

Lee626, Monday, 10 October 2016 18:53 (one year ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Anybody catch the current US tour? I'm probably picking up a ticket today for the show here tomorrow, and am wondering what to expect.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 28 April 2017 17:39 (six months ago) Permalink

10 piece band playing nearly all of hope six, few songs of LES and i think 5 songs older than that. hour and a half. sax solos. was good.

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 28 April 2017 18:06 (six months ago) Permalink

a friend saw her in Philly and said it was extraordinary

akm, Friday, 28 April 2017 19:37 (six months ago) Permalink

Ticket in hand! Saved about $15 by paying cash at the box office too, because fuck you Ticketmaster website.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 28 April 2017 19:54 (six months ago) Permalink

Fantastic Show. General admission section was right in front of the stage, so I was no more that 8-12 ft. from her and the band the whole performance. Fun moment came at the beginning of the encore when PJ, who'd been very precise and controlled the whole night, came in a beat too early with her vocal, instead of with the band on the one for "Medicinals", she caught this just a slit second too late, put her hands to her face to hide her embarrassment/laughter before running over to John Parish and putting her head on his shoulder to collect herself before returning to the mic with a big smile and say "Let's try that again, shall we?"

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 30 April 2017 20:40 (six months ago) Permalink

Awesome post, Grisso. Seing her on Friday, so excited. Saw her on Stories tour, she's stone cold classic

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Sunday, 30 April 2017 23:58 (six months ago) Permalink

I can only wholeheartly agree with the praise of her live shows - the show I saw was amazing. What a performer she is! And the 10-piece band sounds tight and massive - it was a far cry from the (also great but intimate and messy) White Chalk solo show I had seen a few years ago. I'm catching the tour again in the summer when she comes back to Europe, can't wait.

Overall I like The Hope Six Demolition Project quite a bit - and it's grown on me a lot over the past year since I was pretty indifferent to it at first - but I think that the outtakes from the album she's released online (Guilty / A Dog Called Money / I'll Be Waiting) are stronger than some of the tracks that actually made the record. PJ doesn't do interviews anymore but according to her co-producers (Flood, Parish) the songs didn't 100% fit her vision for the album... which kind of makes me admire her even more for her self-editing instincts and discipline. It takes some strong focus to leave a song like Guilty off the record.

mthrn, Monday, 1 May 2017 14:48 (six months ago) Permalink

Here's a review of the Austin show

http://music.blog.austin360.com/2017/04/29/at-packed-stubbs-pj-harvey-thrilled-fans-and-avoided-nostalgia/

excerpts from the review:

Harvey, looking like she had not aged a day in 20 years, took the stage with a nine-piece band who took the stage in single file, some playing horns (Harvey played a sax on and off throughout the evening), most playing drums. It looked and felt like the world’s most Episcopalian second line.

...fully half of the songs were from “Hope Six” with three from the enigmatic “White Chalk” and a smattering from older albums

SET LIST
Chain of Keys
The Ministry of Defense
The Community of Hope
The Orange Monkey
A Line in the Sand
Let England Shake
The Words That Maketh Murder
The Glorious Land
Medicinals
When Under Ether
Dollar, Dollar
The Devil
The Wheel
The Ministry of Social Affairs
50ft Queenie
Down by the Water
To Bring You My Love
River Anacostia
ENCORE:
Guilty
Is This Desire?

curmudgeon, Monday, 1 May 2017 15:09 (six months ago) Permalink

That's a similar set to what we got in Houston. Seeing some of the other setlists, it looks like they shuffle around some of the newer songs in the latter part of the set from night to night, and rotate a couple of the catalog songs in and out from a pool. We got "To Talk To You" from White Chalk mid-set, and she closed with "The River" from ITD?. I'm not often jealous of Dallas, but they got "Highway 61 Revisited" and "The Last Living Rose" (neither of which we got) for an encore.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 1 May 2017 19:48 (six months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

So happy to hear "The River" live

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Monday, 15 May 2017 23:06 (six months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

For her show near Washington DC tonight, she will be joined by Anacostia's Union Temple Baptist Choir, who were on the controversial song on her latest effort

curmudgeon, Friday, 21 July 2017 12:15 (four months ago) Permalink

She played a fair chunk of the album last Saturday as well as cuts from Let England Shake. She wore her saxophone like a guitar. Except for performances of "To Bring You My Love" and "Down by the Water" in the last ten minutes, she didn't cede an inch to audience expectations. She was in her own world.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 21 July 2017 12:19 (four months ago) Permalink

What's funny is I was with a friend who professed to be a huge fan, particularly of the first three albums and "Songs," a friend who also supposedly really likes Nick Cave, and a friend whose politics lean left of left. And yet, he seemed really irked that she was playing mostly stuff from the most recent albums. I think it's more than likely an outdoor festival is simply not the best place to ask someone to meet someone half way, but yeah, she didn't cede an inch. Didn't deviate a bit from past sets on the same tour, either, so perhaps she and the band are just not currently equipped to change the script. From setlist to staging, this is what this tour is.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 21 July 2017 12:26 (four months ago) Permalink

This might be an unpopular opinion but I think that the songs from Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project work amazingly well live. I was totally fine with just a handful of oldies (“50ft Queenie” / “Down by the Water” / “To Bring You My Love” / “Highway 61 Revisited” / “Is This Desire?”) thrown in at the very end of the show and for the encore. I guess I understand some people’s frustration that she refuses to play most of her biggest hits (e.g. Stories... have been 100% absent from her setlists on this tour) but then again, PJ Harvey is not really the kind of artist from whom you’d expect a nostalgia/best-of set.

That being said, the last time I saw her was at her own (fantastic) show. In two weeks I’m seeing her again, this time at an open-air festival gig. I wonder if my opinion will change.

mthrn, Friday, 21 July 2017 14:28 (four months ago) Permalink

They work better live, yes; the material's histrionic roots demand a performer with gusto. I thought The Hope Six an interesting failure.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 21 July 2017 14:29 (four months ago) Permalink

Personally, new material or no, I'd prefer she play guitar again.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 21 July 2017 14:32 (four months ago) Permalink

Alfred's dead on regarding Pj being in her own world. I thought the show in Seattle was top-notch, she's a consummate performer. Josh mentioned the setlist/staging above, I really do believe this is an intentional statement and that the older material would get in the way (hence why it's at the end). When she does switch gears to the old material the crowd goes wild and that serves her well. My only disappointment was "Near The Memorials.." in the encore - felt like she could've thrown a bone there, but she did play "River" so...

Week of Wonders (Ross), Friday, 21 July 2017 17:17 (four months ago) Permalink

She's kind of like Neil Young in that respect...you go see her, and you gonna see the show she wants to play. I can understand the way and why the material has been selected. The band she's got is more or less the band that was heavily involved in the creation of the last two albums, so of course that's the stuff they'll play and can sustain a set list alongside a few older songs (which really aren't rearranged the way they could have been for this band--imagine a "50ft. Queenie" with everybody doing percussion!). It's remarkably brassy/ballsy that this is how she's doing her first large-scale US tour in yoinks.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 21 July 2017 18:53 (four months ago) Permalink

I’d also like to add that the White Chalk material—she’s been playing “When Under Ether,” “The Devil,” “To Talk to You,” and now apparently “Dear Darkness” and “White Chalk,” too—fits very well with the current show, despite the lyrical content of these songs being more introspective and not political/historiographical/journalistic.

This might be just my underdeveloped theory but . . . people often point out Let England Shake as a major sea change in her career (where the focus shifted from inspecting the personal to observing the world around her), whereas I think that the bigger step was her move from blues- to folk-inspired songwriting, which seems to have occurred around 2005-2006, when she was working on White Chalk—although some might say that songs like “Pocket Knife” or “The Desperate Kingdom of Love” from Uh Huh Her had foreshadowed it.

This is of course very simplifying, it’s not like every pre-2006 PJ song has its roots in blues and every post-2006 one in folk, but her vocal delivery definitely changed—and I’m not only talking about her singing in a higher register, but also about enunciation/articulation. Gone were the dirty riffs and rhythmic guitar playing in favour of strummed chords; the vocal melodies became simpler, the arrangements more acoustic, even her lyrics bear more resemblance to (or even directly reference) old folk songs. I guess that’s why the inward-looking White Chalk tracks fit nicely among the newer ones—they seem to come from the same musical family.

(I hope I make sense. Sometimes it’s tricky to put my thoughts into English words, and I’ve had two pints, so forgive me if it reads as gibberish and carry on.)

mthrn, Friday, 21 July 2017 19:18 (four months ago) Permalink

I agree with that - White Chalk is where she started her current approach, which is an approach I like as much as the first two records. Everything else in the middle is hit-or-miss for me.

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Friday, 21 July 2017 20:00 (four months ago) Permalink

This has been posted before, but I would KILL to see her play a version of Grow, Grow, Grow like this. The fact that she does whatever she wants and always has is what makes me respect her immensely though

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uctrQBJSY8

Week of Wonders (Ross), Friday, 21 July 2017 21:13 (four months ago) Permalink


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