PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

Limited Edition 180 Gram Vinyl LP, EU Pressing

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Let England Shake is the eighth studio album by English alternative rock musician PJ Harvey, released in February 2011 by Island Records.

Let England Shake digs its claws in deep. It is a profound and serious work from a singer-songwriter at the height of her powers, a meditation on mankind’s apparently endless appetite for self-destruction, filtered through the Dorset native’s complex feelings of love, pride and also disappointment in her own country. 

Harvey is probably best known for pitching into raw and bloody emotional terrain with fingernails-on-chalkboard intensity. On Let England Shake, with long time collaborators John Parish and Mick Harvey, she has found a way to bring her often jarring musical instincts into one coherent place, setting off high, thin vocals against acoustic washes, electric scratches and rough hewn rhythms that evoke the ancient textures and mysteries of folk music.

The sound is criss-crossed with, almost literally, off beat intrusions, sometimes at odds with the underlying track, from Arabic ululations (“England”) to bugle reveille (“The Glorious Land”) to a sampled reggae band summoning blood and fire on the dark, despairing “Written On The Forehead”. 

The simplicity and directness of Harvey’s three-piece band blending awkwardly with outside influences evokes a sense of the polymorphous and multicultural, a sound clash of the modern world. 

Though her themes are universal in scope, Harvey’s carefully considered, poetic lyrics resonate with images of England and ideas of Englishness, so at times it feels like a love letter of loss and longing for a fading ideal.

On “The Last Living Rose”, she declares “Goddam Europeans! Take me back to England”, but this is no homily to cricket grounds and warm beer, but “the grey, damp filthiness of ages.” 

This is an England lurching towards apocalypse, ruined by blindness to its own virtues, selling off its natural resources and sending its young men to die in foreign fields. 

There is a lot of death on Let England Shake, soldiers falling “like lumps of meat”, rotting bodies left where they lie, from the killing fields of the First World War to the deserts of Iraq. 

It’s not a barrel of laughs, then and there are no pop hits. But it is note perfect, considered and distilled to its essential parts by a great and ambitious artist who, contrary to the trajectory of too many rock careers, is getting better with time. 

For all its despair at the cost of war, this is not a protest record, rather a consideration of our place in the greater scheme of things. The album is full of imagery of woods and field, “bitter branches” and “red earth”. On the haunting “On Battleship Hill”, no trace is left of the lives lost there, “the land returns to how it has always been”. In the end, merciless nature consumes all.

Check out the tracks: “The Words That Maketh Murder”; “The Glorious Land” and “Written On The Forehead”. 

This Limited Edition LP with printed inner sleeve is pressed in Europe on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl.

(602527589978)

Tracklisting:

 

 

Title

Time

A1

Let England Shake

3:09

A2

The Last Living Rose

2:21

A3

The Glorious Land

3:34

A4

The Words That Maketh Murder

3:45

A5

All And Everyone

5:39

A6

On Battleship Hill

4:07

B1

England

3:11

B2

In The Dark Places

2:59

B3

Bitter Branches

2:29

B4

Hanging In The Wire

2:42

B5

Written On The Forehead

3:39

B6

The Colour Of The Earth

2:33

SKU 602527589978
Record Label Island Records
Label / Model # Universal
Catalogue Number 2758997
Country EU - Europe
Release Date (Year) 14 February 2011
Original Release Date (Year) 14 February 2011
Barcode # 602527589978
Shipping Weight 0.3300kg
Shipping Width 0.005m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.000493m3
Type New
Format Limited Edition LP Record, 180 Gram Vinyl, Printed Inner Sleeve
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Rock
Genre Alternative Rock
Genre Indie Rock
Format VINYL LP

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