PJ Harvey & John Parish: A Woman A Man Walked By
The ninth track here is called “Passionless, Pointless,” and there’s a strong temptation to apply this title to the entire album, but that wouldn’t be fair—the record is slathered with passion, and the point seems to be an exercise in creative freedom, a chance for these collaborators to do whatever they want knowing that Harvey's pedigree will insulate them from commercial concern. Lucky them. Who else of this stature could (or would want to) fill an album with clangs, grunts and wails? On “16. 15. 14,” Harvey pronounces “Daniel” as “Donny-ell,” an unpleasant affectation. On “The Chair,” she sounds like she’s falling down a well. On A Woman as a whole, she sounds as though she’s far less inspired than she was on her previous disc, White Chalk, a work of bone-chilling intimacy. This new one is both harder to love and harder to fathom.