PJ Harvey – White Chalk December 29, 2007
I had gotten comfortable with PJ Harvey’s rocky sound. From To Bring You My Love to Who The Fuck?, she had a lot of decibels to release, in a way that very much pleased me. However, when I listened to the preview of her latest album, White Chalk, on her Web site last summer, I discovered that it was going to be very far from the sound I was familiar with coming from her: no heavy guitars, no screaming, but harps, pianos, fiddles and other acoustic instruments with Polly-Jean Harvey’s voice.
This is why, when I bought the CD, I was wondering how much I was going to listen to it.
The packaging itself is different: instead of a standard jewel case, a very thin cardboard sleeve with PJ Harvey wearing a white dress, in a photo that could have been taken a century ago.
The music turned out to be very soothing. Songs mainly feature her voice, sometimes a-cappella, and a piano, with a few other instruments. Some really bear her style in my opinion (e.g. The Piano), but all the arrangements are extremely simple. It took me a couple of listens to really get past what I thought PJ Harvey’s music for to really get into it; I then learned to enjoy it in a way which is completely different from her other albums.
It is basically a short (only 33.5 minutes), refreshing album. It’s not the type of album that you’ll be listening to in a loop, but rather one that you’ll be very happy to put on when you’re in the right mood and that will do its job then. Below are a couple of my favorite songs on this album, Dear Dearkness and Before Departure.
Listen to: Dear Darkness
Listen to: Before Departure