PJ Harvey

Uh Huh Her (Island)

Depending on how you verbalize the ham-fisted title to Polly Harvey's seventh release, the three grunts can be an endorsement ("Uh huh, hell yeah, it's her!") or a dismissal ("Uh huh, whatever, it's her."). But Harvey's catalog has always been about harsh dichotomies. The paradoxical tension between slut lust and shameful repentance made her an indie matriarch. The disappointments with Uh Huh Her pile up because her contradictions come without conviction. Slipshod tracks like "The Slow Drug" and "Cat on the Wall" are shadows of her mid-'90s angst, and even the best cuts ("Pocket Knife," "No Child of Mine") play like scraps from 2001's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. While adoring diehards are sure to extol her return to raw, those of us who were enjoying Harvey's artistic maturation need only one of the title's syllables: Huh? -- Nate Cavalieri

 
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