PJ Harvey

Uh Huh Her

“Your bad mouth has killed off everything we had. Wash it out,” sings PJ Harvey on Uh Huh Her’s opening song, and things don’t get much brighter from there. In “Shame” we learn that “Shame is the shadow of love,” as Harvey uses her trademark falsetto to emphasize her point. But don’t let the subject matter scare you off; Harvey is just better than most of us at crafting her dark moments into jagged works of art that embody passages of musical beauty while remaining emotionally honest. Harvey plays everything but the drums here, and the sparse arrangements are layered with guitars, melodica and organ. “The Slow Drug” builds great tension on a single repeated electric-organ note, and “You Come Through” uses a marimba and bass guitar motif to illuminate one of the album’s few uplifting sentiments. The closing “The Darker Days of Me & Him” is both a lament to love gone wrong and a testament to romantic longing brightened with shimmering autoharp, burbling organ and multi-tracked chorus. Not a party record, perhaps, but one worth listening to.