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Album Picks: PJ Harvey, Kevin Morby, Cate Le Bon

Posted by Billy Gil, April 15, 2016 11:57am | Post a Comment

PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project

PJ Harvey’s ninth album was recorded in sessions that were open to the public at the museum Somerset House in London. Exhibit attendees could see Harvey creating the album with producers Flood and John Parish through a one-way mirror. The results continue in her tradition of excellence, producing songs that sound lush and layered, yet loose and free, with a strong social commentary running through on songs like “The Wheel” (“Now you see them, now you don’t,” she sings of disappeared and killed children around the world). Harvey wrote these 10 songs after she traveled to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C., for inspiration, and the kind of oppression and suffering she witnessed fuels her songwriting, as she sings of “the pain of 50 million years” on “The Orange Monkey” and in “The Community of Hope,” in which her criticism of rebuilt housing projects that displaced residents who could no longer afford it drew the ire of D.C. politicians. Though the composition of Hope Six is certainly interesting and proves Harvey continues to be a firebrand, ultimately the final product is what matters most to fans. Thankfully, the music is as powerful as ever. As can attest the muscular guitars that back songs “The Ministry of Defense,” the wailing sax that tears through “The Ministry of Social Affairs,” the rousing choruses her band delivers throughout the album and Harvey’s soulful vocals that close out the album on “Dollar, Dollar,” The Hope Six Demolition Project more than delivers on its premise.

 

Kevin MorbySinging Saw

Former Woods member Kevin Morby continues his fruitful solo career with a stunner of an album. Singing Saw kicks up Morby’s melancholic songwriting with psychedelic bursts of orchestration, gleaming guitars, straightforward rock beats to keep the whole thing anchored and, yes, singing saws aplenty. Majestic.

 

Cate Le Bon Crab Day

Post-punk heroine Cate Le Bon gets weird on her latest record, and that’s a very good thing. Crab Day mines dream logic for gold on lyrically twisted tunes that find strange melodies in between off-kilter grooves. It’s a ramshackle house, but everything fits just so, giving a sense of Le Bon’s mastery over difficult material. She’s like the Gertrude Stein of indie rock.

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Album Picks (146), New Albums (213), New Releases (214), Pj Harvey (17), Kevin Morby (11), Cate Le Bon (7)