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Album Review

Polly Jean Harvey arrives fully formed as a songwriter on PJ Harvey's debut album, Dry. Borrowing its primitive attack from post-punk guitar rock and its form from the blues, Dry is a forceful collection of brutally emotional songs, highlighted by Harvey's deft lyricism and startling voice, as well as her trio's muscular sound. Her voice makes each song sound like it was an exposed nerve, but her lyrics aren't quite that simple. Shaded with metaphors and the occasional biblical allusion, Dry is essentially an assault on feminine conventions and expectations, and while there are layers of dark humor, they aren't particularly evident, since Harvey's singing is shockingly raw. Her vocals are perfectly complemented by the trio's ferocious pounding, which makes even the slow ballads sound like exercises in controlled fury. And that's the key to Dry: the songs, which are often surprisingly catchy — "Dress" and "Sheela-Na-Gig" both have strong hooks — are as muscular and forceful as the band's delivery, making the album a vibrant and fully realized debut.

Customer Reviews

Essential Classic

PJ Harveys debut is an essential to own. Arguably one of the best and most influential albums from the 90's, and ever. Every song is brilliant, filled with her earlier signature biblical, sexual and quasi-feminist allusions. And dont think I mean annoying butch-sapho feminist music, this music has some feminist themes that are not putting off at all. All songs stand out, with a great band and PJs signature early vocal style, and great lyrics. Dress, Victory and Sheela-na-gig all have really good hooks that well make you come back to them repeatedly. One of the best and most satisfying albums to own.

Come on, boys! Let

This was among the last ten cassette tapes I ever owned before transitioning to CD in the early 90's. I can say that I basically wore a Walkman down with it. To think this was recorded when it was recorded (in terms of year) and the age of Polly Jean Harvey - just an incredible example of the birth of an artist. I would suggest all new PJ Harvey fans begin here and grow with her like the rest of us did. I don't think you can fully appreciate her unless you've wandered through her museum of records. For me, listening to this brings back a flood of excitement and pure audio bliss. I remember thinking I had just found something rare and wonderful. And it's still true today. Get it, NOW.


I approve! PJ's songwriting is fantastic and it's just the right mix of blues and rock to get me pumping! Definitely buy! Best songs: Sheela-na-Gig, Plants and Rags, and Victory


Born: October 9, 1969 in Yeovil, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

During the early-'90s alternative rock explosion, several female singer/songwriters rose to prominence, but few were as distinctive or as widely praised as Polly Jean Harvey. Over the course of three albums, Harvey established herself as one of the most individual and influential songwriters of the '90s, exploring themes of sex, love, and religion with unnerving honesty, dark humor, and a twisted theatricality. At the outset of her career, she led the trio PJ Harvey, which delivered her stark songs...
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