PJ Harvey - Uh Huh Her
Alex Worsnip 06/06/2004
I've always thought PJ Harvey was a rather over-rated artist. Her raw blues-rock sound has some appeal, but can get perfunctory and plodding at times, even when it gets poppier as on last album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, and her influences are clearly drawn: primarily Patti Smith. Her ethic of playing the vast majority of this album herself fits with its stylistic intentions, but ultimately the album fails to change my mind. The muddy, White Stripes-esque chords of tracks like 'The Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth' and 'The Letter' tread the same water that she's been on for several albums, although they are listenable. Better are 'Shame', a moody and passionate track with some acute lyrics, and 'Who The Fuck', a suitably angry, punk rant reminiscent of a more stripped down Sonic Youth, with PJ sounding very similar to Kim Gordon indeed.
But tracks like 'No Child Of Mine', full of bluesy references to 'child so full of woe' in a rather cliched manner that has been done better before, remind you that the album never really leaves 'quite good' for 'excellent'. Whether she's riled up and angry, or sinister and percussive, PJ doesn't really provide anything much new, despite its listenability. This album does provide some interest, with some good tracks. However ultimately it fails to inspire, sounding derivative of both herself and others, and a little too basic to command attention over the course of an entire album.