PJ Harvey has spoken about the gestation of her upcoming album ‘Let England Shake’.
One of the most consistently challenging songwriters of her generation, PJ Harvey has been through many artistic shake ups. From the guttural moan of ‘Cut’ to the seductive purr of ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’ she has never failed to surprise.
Returning with her new album ‘Let England Shake’ the singer has opted to a light vocal tone. However the songwriting is darker than ever, with often stark images of warfare fuelling the album.
Speaking to Pitchfork, PJ Harvey seemed to hope that the album would reach a universal audience. “Well, the record is dealing with a lot of things that are happening in the world right now – conflict, shifts in power, the change in society and in countries’ relations to each other” she explained.
“Although I sing specifically from the point of view of an Englishwoman in England, I hope that I’m addressing feelings that are much more universal. Hopefully, many people can relate to these sorts of feelings – the push and pull that you have with your country, the love and the disappointments. And the nature of conflict is timeless, this cycle of war that has been here since time began and will be here long after we’re gone. It’s something we all live with.”
Recorded in an abandoned Dorset church, ‘Let England Shake’ has a light musicality which sits at odds with the often dense imagery of the lyrics. “I knew that I wanted the music to offset the weight of the words” PJ Harvey continued. “That was very important. I wanted the music to be full of energy and to be very uplifting and unifying, almost insightful in its creation of energy.”
“It took me a long time to find out how to sing such words because to sing it in the wrong voice would have given it the wrong feeling – maybe too self-important and dogmatic. I wanted the songs to be much more ambiguous than that. This was the way that the language was best moved from lip to ear.”
PJ Harvey is set to release ‘Let England Shake’ next year.