It’s times and reviews like those of “White Chalk” that make me hate the concept of music reviews. You know, that whole theory about judging an artist’s vision and all. In the case of PJ Harvey’s latest it’s clear that she had something new in mind. She even learned to play the piano. That rocks in my book! I found a terrific article where she discusses the album and her thought process in making it. It goes along nicely especially after listening (or at least sampling) to the album.
Getting back to the reviews I’ve read for the new album, they are a little surprising. How can reviewers give her low marks for an album like this? It’s definitely not what I would call mainstream, but it’s very ‘PJ Harvey’ – cutting edge, dark, mysterious. I also like how she’s made the album cover to reflect the difference to her other albums. Yes, we may be use to her rocking like a wildwoman and whaling like a banshee, but she’s reminding us she has more to explore and accomplish. I have to admire an artist that breaks out of their comfort zone. I think you’ll enjoy her recent interview from the York Evening Post as it guides you through PJ’s experience in bringing “White Chalk” to life. There are also several tracks from the album streaming on her website.