News & Reviews
4. P J Harvey Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (Album - Island)
Manhattan rooftops, cops, hustlers and heroin are more appropriate ingredients for tales of a misled city life than an uncomplicated life in Poole P J Harveys hometown. The overriding raw, rough and very ready sound should originate from a New York or an L.A. upbringing not from too much time spent daydreaming under a Dorset sunset.
But Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, P J Harveys sixth and perhaps best album to date is nevertheless much more than simply a tale of a debauched city life with a soundtrack to match. For whilst she splendidly delivers the hard hitting, unforgiving guitar thrash of Good Fortune she also plainly and gently maps out a heartfelt lament with a delicate Velvet Underground crucifix of lone guitars on Beautiful Feeling.
More also than simply a gathering of twelve songs and, within that, at least eight unforgettable classics (including the irrepressible The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore), Stories shows off its creators vocal strengths admirably. She metamorphoses between a screeching banshee to an innocent choirboy, from the deep prowl of Siouxsie Sioux to the pitch-driven trill of Kate Bush.
Lyrically however, she may not be the best, managing somehow to persuade Thom Yorke to sing the uncomfortable lines I dream of making love to you now, baby but amidst a handful of current female singer/songwriter/musicians she holds a more than worthy first class position.


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