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28/01/2016 : PJ HARVEY - The Wheel

PJ HARVEY

The Wheel

MusicCD single
Indie Rock

[90/100]   

Island Records
28/01/2016, Benny CALUWE

EN

Five years after Let England Shake, the album for which PJ Harvey won her second Mercury Prize, the successor is ready. She won her first award in 2001 for Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea. Polly-Jean is the sole artist who managed to win the prestigious British music price twice. The long-awaited successor The Hope Six Demolition Project will be released on 15th April. The Wheel is the first single.

Let England Shake was about Britain’s war past. On The Hope Six Demolition Project, Polly-Jean succeeds with themes such as politics and war. For inspiration she travelled to Afghanistan, Kosovo and Washington with photographer Seamus Murphy. In an interview she said: “When I’m writing a song, I visualise the entire scene, I can see the colours, I can tell the time of the day, I can sense the mood, I can see the light changing, the shadows moving, everything in that picture. Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with.”

In The Wheel, you hear PJ Harvey singing in the upper registers, just like she did on Let England Shake. Instrumentally, PJ seems to return to her older rock style. The propulsive guitar intro is followed by a chorus with a question and an answer. A polyphonic answer. The rhythm is supported by hand-clapping. The saxophone is involved as well. In the second track The Wheel (edit), the intro and outro are shortened.

The lyrics can be interpreted in different ways. Is PJ Harvey referring to the migration crisis and does “the revolving wheel” stands for the wheels of a vehicle that takes the children away? Or is she singing about the revolving cylinder of a handgun and the young victims that are caused by it? PJ Harvey doesn’t need to prove herself as a songwriter anymore. She’s an excellent observer and has a lot of empathy. She’s perfectly able to identify with someone else and to write from that point of view.

The Wheel is a great track and a fine foretaste for the upcoming album. Impatiently we are waiting for 15th April, when The Hope Six Demolition Project is in the record stores.

Lyrics:

A revolving wheel of metal chairs

Hung on chains squealing

Four little childrin flying out

Ablind man sings in Arabic

Chorus:

Hey little children don't disappear

(I heard it was 28.000)

Lost upon a revolving wheel

(I herad it was 28.000)

Now you see them, now you don't

Children vanish behind vehicle

Now you see them, now you don't

Face, limbs, a bouncing skull

A tableau of the missing

tied to the governement building

8.000 sun-bleached photographs

Faded with roses

Hey litlle children don't disappear

(I herad it was 28.000)

Lost upon a revolving wheel

(I head it was 28.000)

All that's left after a year

(Iheard it was 28.000)

A faded face, the trace of an ear

(I heard it was 28.000)

Outro:

And I watch them fade out

And I watch them fade out

...

Benny CALUWE
28/01/2016


NL

Vijf jaar na Let England Shake, het album waarmee PJ Harvey in 2011 haar tweede Mercury Prize won, is de volgende plaat klaar. Haar eerste onderscheiding won ze in 2001 voor Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea. Polly-Jean is trouwens de enige artieste die deze prestigieuze Britse muziekprijs twee maal in ontvangst mocht nemen. De langverwachte opvolger, The Hope Six Demolition Project ,wordt uitgebracht op 15 april. The Wheel is de eerste single.

Let England Shake ging over het Britse oorlogsverleden. Op The Hope Six Demolition Project gaat Polly-Jean opnieuw aan de slag met politieke en oorlogsthema’s. Ze liet zich inspireren door haar reizen naar Afghanistan, Kosovo en Washington die ze samen met fotograaf Seamus Murphy ondernam. Daarover zei ze in een interview: “Als ik een song schrijf, visualiseer ik het hele tafereel, kan ik de kleuren zien, kan ik het uur van de dag zeggen, voel ik de stemming, zie ik het licht veranderen, de schaduwen bewegen, alles in dat beeld. Informatie uit de tweede hand stond te ver af van de dingen waarover ik probeerde te schrijven. Ik wilde de lucht opsnuiven, de bodem onder mijn voeten voelen en de inwoners ontmoeten van de landen die me fascineerden..”.

In The Wheel hoor je PJ Harvey net als op Let England Shake in de hoge registers zingen.

Instrumentaal lijkt PJ naar haar oudere rockstijl terug te grijpen. Na een voortstuwend intro komt een refrein met een vraag en een antwoord. Een meerstemmig antwoord. Een uitnodigend handgeklap ondersteunt het ritme. De saxofoon is ook van de partij. De tweede track is The Wheel (edit) met een ingekorte in- en outro.

De songtekst is voor interpretatie vatbaar. Verwijst PJ Harvey naar de migratiecrisis en staat the revolving wheel voor de wielen van een voertuig waarop de kinderen uit het zicht verdwijnen? Of heeft ze het over de draaiende cilinder van een pistool die jonge slachtoffers maakt? Als songschrijver hoeft PJ Harvey zich niet meer te bewijzen. Ze is een uitstekend observator en heeft veel empathie. Ze kan zich prima inleven en vanuit een ander oogpunt schrijven.

The Wheel is een voortreffelijke song en een heerlijk voorproefje van de nieuwe plaat. Het blijft reikhalzend uitkijken naar 15 april, de dag waarop The Hope Six Demolition Project in de rekken ligt.

Benny CALUWE
28/01/2016


28/01/2016 : PJ HARVEY - The Wheel 28/01/2016 : PJ HARVEY - The Wheel 28/01/2016 : PJ HARVEY - The Wheel 28/01/2016 : PJ HARVEY - The Wheel 28/01/2016 : PJ HARVEY - The Wheel 28/01/2016 : PJ HARVEY - The Wheel

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