PJ Harvey

The Hope Six Demolition Project

Apr 2016

Made in public as part of an art installation

Alternative and Indie Rock

It’s safe to say that PJ Harvey is seriously worried about the state or the world – or at least Yeovil.

The Hope Six Demolition Project is both dark and brutally realistic – yet musically up there with the best of them. The sound is less stark than her earlier work with plenty of power in the bass and a bit of polish on voices and guitars, but not too much, that wouldn’t do.

It opens with a trip to drug town The Community Of Hope that’s being slowly swallowed by Walmart. The Ministry Of Defence with its huge drums and wall of sound doesn’t get much cheerier either. Songs like Chain Of Keys and A Line In The Sand are loaded with hard-hitting images that try to articulate a broken city. While River Anacostia starts out like someone’s going to launch into a boozy sea shanty but John Parish amps up the tom toms and sobers things up.

Side 2 opens with fat people squeezing into plastic chairs and starlings scattering Near The Memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln. In Orange Monkey she flies to a foreign land and describes what she finds, and it’s not pretty. But Medicinals offers hope in old remedies and the Wheel watches the pictures of missing children “fade out” on government buildings. It ends with Polly trapped in a car as a child in Afghanistan cheerfully asks for Dollar, Dollar.

The Hope Six Demolition Project isn’t Laura Ashley or Walt Disney. It’s brave, deeply affecting and intelligent social commentary, but at least the sound is positive.