Current listening: P J Harvey “White Chalk”

Haunting. Otherworldly but very natural sounding (if that is not a contradiction in terms) and very English.  Like some ghostly apparation rising out of the chalk downs of Dorset.  Walking in the hills near Cwms the other week I passed an old stone cottage, long unoccupied and fallen into rack and ruin, grey beams protruding from the structure, parts of walls fallen away and bits of roof missing. Brambles had moved into the building and an elder sprouted from its side but you could still see a rusting black range and a broken wooden chair in what would have been the living area, and a cistern exposed at the top of the walls of what would have been the outside privy. Ghosts of past lives and the generations of families which had lived there. It was a cold and windy day and there was little sun. I did actually have this music playing inside my head as I passed by, through the old garden and orchard and it was the perfect film for this soundtrack.

The best record cover of 2007 bar none.  Presentation and packaging perfectly aligned with the music inside.

The more I listen to this album the more I think it is the best work she has produced. It is a near perfect record, consistent in tone and mood but varied enough and powerful enough to sustain interest. It is also beautifully short at just over 30 minutes. Not a moment too long. Which is to be commended. I wish more musicians were as concise.


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