PJ Harvey, I Inside The Old Year Dying, Vinyl, LP, Partisan Records, 2023

The story behind PJ Harvey’s tenth album – I Inside the Old Year Dying – goes back six years to the end of touring around her previous record The Hope Six Demolition Project, and Harvey’s keen feeling that somewhere in the endless grueling cycle of albums and shows, she had lost her connection with music itself. Eventually (thankfully), she once again began to feel pulled in the direction of new songs, music, and sounds. The resulting body of work is audacious and original even by the standards of an artist who has always ensured that each phase of her progress has taken her somewhere new.

Anchored by her nearly thirty-year creative partnership with her long-term musical associates John Parish and Flood, Harvey set out with an explicit mission: to avoid anything reminiscent of their musical past. She draws on the creative freedom she had felt in past musical work on soundtracks, and in the theater. Her perspective shifts away from the big themes of previous albums, towards something more intimate, eerie, and human. Meanwhile, her voice has become, if anything, a more intensely pure instrument over the years. With I Inside the Old Year Dying, Harvey builds a sonic universe somehow located in a space between life’s opposites, – between recent history and the ancient past. Scattered with biblical imagery and references to Shakespeare, all these distinctions ultimately dissolve into something profoundly uplifting and redemptive.