At its core, Let England Shake, the tenth album by English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey, is a protest album in the grand folk tradition. Blunt and brutal imagery is used throughout as she condemns the mental and physical toll of war (WWI, Iraq, and more broadly, human conflict, in general) and the misguided exceptionalism of the men who started those wars. However, once you put aside the lyric sheet, you are transported to a land brimming with uncommon delight — The glittering guitar on “The Glorious Land,” and the operatic vocals on “On Battleship Hill,” are so stark they effectively mask the count of dead, deformed, and orphaned quickly accumulating during the narration of these twelve, dire tracks. This same duality makes that dirty old town depicted in “The Last Living Rose,” a home worth longing for, and enables “Hanging in the Wire,” a duet with long-time collaborator, Mick Harvey, with its warm keyboard tones and quietly assured vocals, to hide its gruesome scene of unburied soldiers. Without its light music, Hanging in the Wire,” and Let England Shake, as a whole, would be too much for any man to take. With its complex soul in tact, however, it offers a sense of hope rarely paired with such grim scenes (Maybe we aren’t cursed to repeat the mistakes of our fathers), and presents itself as an album of such wonder that it can only be deemed as a work of greatness. 9 out of 10 on The Rockometer.
- August 25, 2015
If musicians were subject to rules of an NFL-style draft, Royal Headache's vocalist, a man who goes by the name Shogun, would be a first round pick. His voice has the wear of a life that hasn't always been an easy one to live. He's got soul. He's got effortless range. If he came in the age in the late '60s he could have fronted the Faces. In the '70s it would have been The Nerves or The Jam. And, if he came of age in the '80s, and really, really liked his booze, he could slide right into an outfit like the Replacements. In the grunge era, he would have sung like he had marbles in his mouth. Let's be glad Shogun is not active in 1995, but in 2015, where he sounds right at home in this scrappy four-piece, garage band from Sydney. Read More