The Deal: More than 12 years after their last collaboration, singer/producer team up again for 10 songs.
The Good: The disc opens with "Black Hearted Love," a haunting track with screeching guitars and echoed, melodic vocals from PJ Harvey that make her sound more like Johnette Napolitano more than the quirky Harvey style we're used to. The song harkens back to her earlier efforts, but the feeling is quickly fleeting as she reverts to the punk side on "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen." The sparse acoustic music on the track sounds like the rhythm from the movie American Beauty. An interesting dichotomy is formed on "The Chair" as a hectic drum beat is rifled off behind drawn-out, methodical vocals. Harvey sounds like she's taking on a different persona for each song.
The Bad: "Leaving California" and its falsetto didn't do much for me over the sparse musical accompaniment. There were moments when it became almost operatic. "April" sounds like it's being sung by a 90-year-old woman. "A Woman A Man Walked By" is kind of creepy with its growled chorus of "stick it up your fucking ass" ... um, yeah, those are the lyrics.
The Verdict: Without "Black Hearted Love," the album would be a somewhat average PJ Harvey album, but that opening track is enough to kick it up a notch or two.