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LISTEN: PJ Harvey 'Written On The Forehead' & First Review
The Quietus , November 30th, 2010 16:14

Track from Let England Shake now online

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This evening sees the opening dispatch from Polly Harvey as a solo artist proper for the first time since the brilliant exploration of the English pastoral that was White Chalk. Where that was a record of dry bones and thin topsoil of a self-imposed musical primitivism, 'Written On The Forehead' has a warmer, aqueous and more soulful feel. If White Chalk seemed wracked with doubt, possessed of a harsh beauty that reflected the Dorset landscape, it’s fascinating that the forthcoming album Let England Shake was recorded in a church. For ‘Written On The Forehead’ has the feel of an English spiritual – but none of the easy clichés of the session gospel choir commonly associated with the likes of Kings Of Leon for PJ Harvey, instead she seems to have employed a sample of some evocative, ancient record, discovered in the abandoned vestry. She adds a more international feel with lyrics of dinars, bellydancers and tangerine trees, while a background drone recalls Spacemen 3 at their most bucolic. What’s even more interesting is the presence of the sun-dappled glo-fi of Toro Y Moi, while the sweet vocals over a distorted melody bring to mind blog sensation How To Dress Well.

Now, it's your turn. Listen in the player below, and tell us what you think of 'Written On The Forehead'

Written On The Forehead by pjharvey

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From Her To Eternity
Nov 30, 2010 10:32pm

She's fucking incredible! Everything she does is sensational. She puts her contemporaries to shame.

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Nov 30, 2010 11:29pm

I've never really been a big Peej fan to be honest but I was looking forward to this album after "White Chalk" charmed me, but this is far beyond what I was expecting. Fantastic.

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Tyson Burden
Dec 1, 2010 6:40am

She's everything the world needs in a songwriter. I knew this would be new and striking before I read the review, and I was pleased as soon as the song began. Perfect.

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Dec 1, 2010 12:20pm

Can hear that Spaceman 3/Spiritualized link. That sample sounds straight out of 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts', I like it a lot.

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Dec 1, 2010 12:26pm

Very different, a big change on her mood...

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Dec 1, 2010 1:10pm

I so much love the atmosphere of this song.

Waiting for the album, just wanted to share a video made for the song ‘The Devil’ on the album White Chalk.
(activate HD and see it in a larger window if you can)

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Dec 1, 2010 2:04pm

Been a huge Polly fan for years and always anticipate new songs like a child at christmas. I have to say this song is truly amazing. She gives you something soo different and yet gives you the comfort of familiarity. Polly's house has many mansions and this one looks to be a very beatiful ebuliant one which i will stay in and thoroughly enjoy. Thankyou Polly for your ethereal spirit.

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Vincent Nifigance
Dec 2, 2010 7:57am

In reply to Pauly:

I think this song is horrible. I'm devastated - this is beyond daft.

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Dec 2, 2010 5:18pm

This reminds me of Peter Gabriel's songs. Beautiful, but not exactly what I'd expect from her...

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