If you had a new studio album in the PJ Harvey surprise announcement pool, then you were correct. It’s big reveal day on Polly Jean’s website and as NME reports, the cryptic phrase “Let England Shake” is actually the name of her forthcoming, Flood (U2, Depeche Mode)-produced ninth full length. Due for release on February 14th via Island Records, the followup to 2007’s White Chalk also features contributions from longtime collaborator John Parish, former Bad Seeds member Mick Harvey, and musician Jean-Marc Butty. And like a lot of other people these days, the effort was included in a church — a19th century one in Dorset, UK to be exact.
“We played most of the music live,” Harvey told NME of the album. “I didnt set down any rules. For some reason, we were all in a very good place, with a lot of energy, intensity and vitality in us at that time. It was a really enjoyable experience, and I think the records ended up full of energy and quite an uplifting experience because of it.”
In a separate interview with the BBC earlier this year, Harvey revealed she had recorded much of the album on an autoharp. “Ive got three autoharps and Ive had them tuned in slightly different chords, uh, fixtures here, so that theyre slightly out of the normal line of what an autoharp would sound like. Theres a lot more minor keys, a lot of darker keys.
“The next body of work [Let England Shake], its an example of the whole album, really, in that i was looking outwards a lot more. I think a lot of my work has often been about the interior, the emotional, what happens inside oneself. This time Ive just been looking out, so its not only to do with taking a look at England, but taking a look at the world and whats happening in the current day world affairs. But always trying to come from the human point of view because I dont feel qualified to sing from a political standpoint.”
According to Harvey’s website, the album will be supported by a run of sold out live shows early next year, with dates in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and London. 2011 will also see Harvey return to the festival-stage, with more details to be announced. While we wait for more details, you can watch a performance of the album’s title track from earlier this year.
Update: Per TwentyFourBit, you can now see the album’s artwork above and tracklist below.
Let England Shake Tracklist:
01. Let England Shake
02. The Last Living Rose
03. The Glorious Land
04. The Words That Maketh Murder
05. All And Everyone
06. On Battleship Hill
08. In The Dark Places
09. Bitter Branches
10. Hanging In The Wire
11. Written On The Forehead
12. The Colour Of The Earth
PJ Harvey 2011 Tour Dates:
02/18 Brussels, BE @ Cirque Royale
02/19 – Brussels, BE @ Cirque Royale
02/21 Berlin, DE @ Admiralspalast
02/22 – Berlin, DE @ Admiralspalast
02/24 Paris, FR @ Olympia
02/27 London, UK @ Troxy
02/28 – London, UK @ Troxy