PJ Harvey is a well known English Singer/Songwriter, a veteran in the music scene making her professional debut in the 1990’s. Harvey has been known for changing sound with each new album she releases as to not repeat herself twice. Her newest eighth studio album ‘Let England Shake’ is no exception; we see a very unique idea for an album, one that can only be described as courageous with an artist that has a big following.
The album, which was recorded over a five week period in a church giving a slightly airy feel to it, entered the UK album charts at #8. Harvey sticks with one main theme throughout the CD and that is the sense of ‘English Pride’.
It contains strong undertones of patriotism; with one of the titles itself named England. You really do get this sense of English pride from the album, without the pretentious ‘we are better than everyone’ attitude. The artist claimed she researched historical conflicts whilst creating the record, this influence is made very clear by tracks such as ‘The Glorious’ with bugles playing in the intro. On the whole it seems to give off a slightly more upbeat and less folksy Laura Marling ‘I Speak Because I Can’ vibe. On the downside the album does start to get a bit repetitive as it nears the middle, and transcends from an individual and bold CD of Glorious England into one long list of why England is good.
This record has added some very interesting aspects to the current music market, such as the new and refreshing concept tied in with the strong vocals and wide range of instruments used. However the general lack of variety cannot be ignored, with the one tone theme of ‘English Pride’ it becomes very bland and boring and unfortunately morphs into one long song. Perhaps if it had other sub-themes it would do a better job of keeping listeners keen. Overall it has too little variety to make it truly enjoyable to listen to the whole thing.