ARTIST: PJ Harvey
YEAR RELEASED: 1992
CHART ACTION: #11 UK
SINGLES: Dress. Sheela-Na-Gig (#9 US Alternative, #69 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: O Stella, Victory
LINEUP: Polly Jean Harvey, Steve Vaughan, Rob Ellis. Ian Ollivier, Ben Gorenevelt, Mike Paine and Chas Dickie also help.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: While the US was going grunge crazy, PJ Harvey released this debut album with her band and flat out burned the UK to the ground.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After breaking away from another group, Ms. Harvey formed a trio and went about writing songs, demoing, and playing gigs. The two singles listed above received accolades everywhere, and when the debut album came out, it was shown that those singles were not flukes.
Starting out with a plaintive yelp in “O My Lover”, moving though punk, sophisticated pop, and moody, complex guitar songs, the songs on this debut are varied and purposeful. A strong feminist streak inhabits this album and her fierce vocals and guitar work shine through.
The album is sequenced perfectly, with great pacing, a good distribution of cuts so that nothing is that similar together, and perfect openings and closings for each side. One of the best debuts, period.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: She was a contributor to the band Automatic Diamini, which was led by her future collaborator John Parish.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: All of the demos were on an early deluxe version.
GRADE: A+: The definition of a perfect debut.