POLLY HARVEY christened her forthcoming album ‘STORIES FROM THE CITY, STORIES FROM THE SEA’ last night (September 18) with a low-key show at her now-traditional local launchpad, the tiny BRIDPORT ARTS CENTRE in deepest DORSET.
In front of a packed crowd including family, friends and Beth Gibbons from Portishead, Polly and her latest PJ Harvey cohorts played a set heavy on rock guitars and rich in melody. In her glittery and semi-transparent miniskirt, leather dominatrix boots and long straight hair, Harvey also struck a healthy, self-confident and unashamedly glamorous figure throughout the 90-minute set.
More than half of the 20-song set was devoted to the new album, with highlights including the gorgeous alt.country lament ‘You Said Something’ and the heads-down Joan-Jett-meets-Jon-Spencer riff monster ‘This Is Love’. Polly also played a solo version of her hotly anticipated Thom Yorke duet ‘This Mess We’re In’, tackling Yorke‘s falsetto parts herself, plus a couple of new songs which didn’t make the album, notably a brooding blues meditation on her current age, ‘Thirty’.
The set also included several old favourites including ‘Dry’, ‘Man-Size’ and ‘Down By The Water’. But the new songs already sounded like Harvey‘s most assured work for years, full-bodied and unapologetically hummable after the detuned drones and ethereal folk implosions of her late ’90s albums. Polly seems revitalised for the new millennium, reminding us of the lusty spark which first made her famous almost a decade ago.
Click back here tomorrow for full review and photos.