12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming after the meditative, ethereal piano song-cycle of White Chalk, Let England Shake is raw, abrasive and high on criticisms of Imperialist England, global warming and general apocalypse. A Mellotron is dragged out and often matched to Harvey’s vocals, while her steady compatriots, John Parish and Mick Harvey, join her vocal choir and add brittle instrumentation to tunes that sound at times like nursery rhymes. Drums are employed more in the Velvet Underground tradition, pounded without the flash of standard rock ‘n’ roll. The title track sets the tone with Harvey’s voice sounding as if it’s been submerged under water; her enunciations are challenging to the discerning ear. “The Last Living Rose,” “The Words That Maketh Murder,” and “The Colour of the Earth” mix up the experimental tones of Yoko Ono with a child-like wonder: all the better to hide the dark sentiments. White Chalk aside, Harvey never makes music easy on the ear. She challenges the listener. These tunes recorded in a rural 19th-century church are far from the harmonious hymns that once graced the building. Harvey would have it no other way.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming after the meditative, ethereal piano song-cycle of White Chalk, Let England Shake is raw, abrasive and high on criticisms of Imperialist England, global warming and general apocalypse. A Mellotron is dragged out and often matched to Harvey’s vocals, while her steady compatriots, John Parish and Mick Harvey, join her vocal choir and add brittle instrumentation to tunes that sound at times like nursery rhymes. Drums are employed more in the Velvet Underground tradition, pounded without the flash of standard rock ‘n’ roll. The title track sets the tone with Harvey’s voice sounding as if it’s been submerged under water; her enunciations are challenging to the discerning ear. “The Last Living Rose,” “The Words That Maketh Murder,” and “The Colour of the Earth” mix up the experimental tones of Yoko Ono with a child-like wonder: all the better to hide the dark sentiments. White Chalk aside, Harvey never makes music easy on the ear. She challenges the listener. These tunes recorded in a rural 19th-century church are far from the harmonious hymns that once graced the building. Harvey would have it no other way.

TITLE TIME

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