PJ Harvey's Newest Proves She's Still the Queen

Austin Chronicle | July 23, 2004
PJ Harvey

Uh Huh Her (Island)

Four years after PJ Harvey illustrated Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, her voice growls with unbelievable ferocity. Still, she wears a coat of armor to cover her soft core. Still, she teaches that femininity and masculinity are often interchangeable. Still, she sings about love while humping a guitar. Uh Huh Her is a lesson in contentment, anger, disappointment, and independence. Seductive psychosis and classic PJ Harvey. "Baby, you got a bad, bad mouth," Polly scolds to open "The Life & Death of Mr. Badmouth," denouncing lies and condescension while her trademark crunchy, guttural riffs keep time and mood constant. Uh Huh Her is angry, but it’s still a familiar book of love and loss, victimization and ignorance. Latin influences ("Shame") and antique ballads ("Pocket Knife") are balanced by the primal "Who the Fuck" and the erotic "The Letter" ("Put the pen to the paper, press the envelope with my scent"). "The Slow Drug" binds the mood of the whole, a simple and enticing gothic glimpse into the artist. More mature than "Down by the Water," "Drug" entrances with simplicity and beauty. This is why PJ Harvey is a necessity. Throughout grunge and post-punk and the electroclash revival, she’s remained. With the exception of the embarrassing "Cat on the Wall," Uh Huh Her is an apt representation of why PJ Harvey is a superhero.

*** – Darcie Stevens

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