Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
by PJ Harvey, rock (2000)
Universal/Island, ASIN B00004YW6I

If Tori Amos kills with her piano, PJ Harvey is lethal with her electric guitar. Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea - hereforth referred to only as Stories by this lazy woman - is probably her most accessible (re: radio-friendly) stuff, but gawd, she still rocks.

From the head-banging Big Exit (where she sounds like Patti Smythe) to the brilliant Good Fortune (where she sounds like Stevie Nicks), Harvey lets it rip like there's no tomorrow. Her fiery, sultry vocals more than make up for the lack of originality in her new material. Listening to One Line and Kamikaze, I can't help but to wonder why I never joined a rock band. Hmm.

But the masterpiece of this album is the really Gothic The Mess We're In, where the master of misery, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, sings practically the whole song in his mournful, mesmerizing dirge of a voice while Harvey provides the sultry contravocals. This song is about two messed-up lovers who had, I don't know, a one-night stand which both couldn't get over. Maybe it's just me but I can't help thinking it's also about an abortion thingie. The whole mess is just like too much cheap alcohol or low-grade drugs, I guess. Still, this song is just wonderful in its eerie lament to messed-up psychosis.

The downside, of course, is Harvey's sometimes embarrassing lyrics. I still can't singalong to The Whores Hustle And The Hustlers Whore without cringing at the awfully pretentious lyrics.

Nonetheless, Harvey's fire and kinetic energy shine like a nuclear reactor alarm bulb going haywire in this metallic, exuberant album. Just brilliant. Stories may not be Harvey's best stuff, but she proves she is still one of the finest Rock Chick around.

Rating: 88

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