Uh Huh Her – P.J Harvey


2004 – Island

Alternative Rock

Harvey’s sixth studio album opens with a real kicker; all dark and throbbing, tinged with spite and sadness. This brooding atmosphere continues through to the end, with only a few notable exceptions, and consequently this makes for a rather oppressive record.

Uh Huh Her performs a tricky balancing act between open rawness and complex subtlety, and, for the most part, it achieves this. This, I think, can be directly attributed to P.J’s talent as a composer. However, some tracks do tend to get bogged down in their layering and texture which comes across as, quite frankly, a bit self indulgent.

Her musical charm is best expressed in the more basic folk-styled songs like No Child Of Mine and The Desperate Kingdom of Love or in the prowling, bare-boned rock songs like Cat On The Wall or It’s You. Unfortunately these stand-outs don’t form the majority of this album, and are, instead, just little treats to be picked out of the unrelenting melancholy.

These other tracks are, on the whole, good, but they just don’t really shine, and they just don’t give the listener enough substance to grab onto. For example Who The F**k? and The Life And Death of Mr. Badmouth would really benefit from some good, old fashioned, snarling anger, but instead Harvey redirects and internalizes this bile turning it into the same bleak self-obsession we hear on every other track.

In conclusion, Uh Huh Her is a good album for what it is trying to do (which is apparently making you want to mope around your bedroom indefinitely). The music is extremely well put together and the vocals are wonderfully pained, but, in the end, it’s just not hugely groundbreaking or impressive.

RATING: ***/5

 

One of the stand-out tracks from P.J Harvey’s sixth studio album ‘Uh Huh Her’

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