Polly Want Uh Huh Her?
When indie Brit star Polly Jean Harvey released her intentionally happy album Stories from the City – Stories from the Sea, she managed to duck the label of a pop-rock idol by keeping to her strong “girl with a gritty guitar” sound, despite the album’s more mainstream flavor. But with her latest, Uh Huh Her, Harvey proves that Stories was an experiment only, and not a new direction for the singer/songwriter with (electric) guitar.In Stories Harvey sounded melodic, her voice rarely emotionally strained. It was a shift for the artist as she moved away from the dark and gritty style on which she built her name. But in UHH, Harvey is back with a vulgar vengeance. Fans of her mid-90’s era sound will revel in “Who The Fuck?”, short but powerful, with her classic coarse guitar and vocals, encasing cryptic angry lyrics. “Pocket Knife” and “The Letter” both pay homage to the un-produced, raw sound that Harvey embraces.
“The Slow Drug” and “You Come Through” are some of the lighter tracks on the album; the former with a simple keyboard background that focuses on Harvey’s smoky vocals, and the latter with violin and percussion to soften her sound. She ends with the lighter tracks, finishing the album with a softer touch (complete with sounds of seagulls) than one would expect from an album opening with songs like “What The Fuck?”
Harvey may have found more fame with Stories, but it’s apparent that no matter how successful her last album may have been, she felt the need to return to the more simple and unrefined sound in which she has always seemed most comfortable.