The Hope Six Demolition Project is the ninth studio album by the acclaimed singer-songwriter PJ Harvey, her long-awaited follow-up to her 2011 Mercury Prize-winning album Let England Shake. The entire LP was famously recorded in sessions that were open to the public as part of an art installation at London’s Somerset House called Recording in Progress.
And what’s it like?
This album is like a piece of investigative journalism set to music, inspired by Harvey’s travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington, where the musician reports on war zones and areas that are in desperate need of some TLC. The subject matter is therefore particularly bleak, so we’d advise you to look elsewhere if you’re looking for an album that will put a big smile on your face!
Subject matter aside, this is one of the best rock albums that PJ has written since 2000’s Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, but some may find the lyrics a little too “preachy” to be able to enjoy this LP as much as her previous works.
What are the album’s best songs?
“The Ministry of Defence” bizarrely begins by sounding like a menacing alternative rock version of Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender, with Harvey teasing us with some sultry vocals over the harsh musical score. “The Wheel” is a great simple toe-tapping rock song that you’ll like on the very first play. Another highlight is “Dollar, Dollar,” which brings the album to a close with a stunning organ-led coda that is unlikely to be beaten as one of the most beautiful/mournful tunes of 2016.
Are there any music videos and/or audio?
1. The Community of Hope
2. The Ministry of Defence
3. A Line in the Sand
4. Chain of Keys
5. River Anacostia
6. Near the Memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln
7. The Orange Monkey
9. The Ministry of Social Affairs
10. The Wheel
11. Dollar, Dollar
What’s the final verdict?
Sorry Polly, politics and music should NEVER ever meet. However, despite the album not being amongst her best, it does contain some cracking tunes that will make it worth your while.
Words by Peter Warne.