PJ Harvey

White Chalk | Island
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  September 24, 2007
4.0 4.0 Stars
inside_PJ-HARVEY---WHITE-CH
The sing-song melody and Burt Bacharach lullaby piano chords that open PJ Harvey and crew’s new studio album lead into “The Devil,” who Harvey announces has entered her soul. As the next 10 songs in this cryptic gothic fairy tale unreel, she experiences a drug-induced nightmare (“Under the Ether”), a painful hollowing of the heart (“Broken Harp”), a moon tide of guilt, and, seemingly, death. With its Neil Gaiman–like imagery, this cycle is all a metaphor for a wrenching break-up. It’s also radically different from her previous studio effort, 2003’s art-punk ripper Uh Huh Her (Island). Harvey’s simple, tattered piano guides this journey, sometimes alone. Although she reteams with producer Flood, who co-directed her pop breakthrough, Is This Desire?, White Chalk is more chamber music, and a dark chamber at that. The only flickers of light come from Harvey’s voice: high, airy, and imperiled as she weaves her echo-coated and darkly soulful spell till the story’s bleak finale.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Burt Bacharach,  More more >
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