PJ Harvey and John Parish, 'A Woman a Man Walked By' (Island)

Critical Mass
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by Jessica Suarez

PJ Harvey's music can be frightening, not because of who she is, but who she becomes. For their second album as a duo, longtime collaborator John Parish gave Harvey finished songs to write lyrics for, and his sometimes brittle, sometimes thundering guitar work provides the skeleton for an array of fleshly narrators. Harvey morphs from rasping seductress to screaming chimera with stunning velocity, but the line "When you call out my name in rapture / I volunteer my soul for murder" on "Black Hearted Love" shows that she's a more elemental mixture: a little sin and even less salvation.

Listen: PJ Harvey and John Parish, "Black Hearted Love"

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