LISTEN: PJ Harvey ‘Written On The Forehead’ & First Review

Track from Let England Shake now online

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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