Cardiff Coal Exchange
The fact that we can hear the heart that beats behind it that makes this all worthwhile...More on
Oh, the backstage rumours might have it that Polly Harvey is in icy mood, but tonight - rounding off Cardiff's One Live, as personally requested by John Peel - there's no indication that the mood is anything other than celebratory. Sure, much of forthcoming album 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea' flirts with the bleak nihilism of New York punk rock, but many of tonight's renderings are lusty, wry, and fiercely human. "I can't believe life is so complex," sneers Harvey, on 'This Is Love' "But I just want to sit here and watch you undress..."
There's still the fair share of primal scream therapy, though; 'Big Exit' is a careening, discordant garage-punk thud, as confrontational as anything Polly's ever sung. Striding the stage like a caged animal, her voice undulates between a shrill banshee wail and an rough-throated Iggy snarl: "Baby, baby, ain't it true/ I'm immortal when I'm with you/ But I want a pistol/ In my hand". Meanwhile, there's a fair share of oldie-but-goodies: 'Man-Size' veers between fitful bursts of rage and tender, open-wound confessionals, and as encore, 'Dry' paints a cracked, painful melodrama.
The spell is a good one. But it's the fact that we can hear the heart that beats behind it that makes this all worthwhile.
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