from Q, #69 June 1992.
TOO PURE (PURE 10)
Like her closest antecedents, Patti Smith and Throwing Muses, Yeovil's Polly Harvey isn't easily definable. Call her feminist, if that word encapsulates the area between female desire and a world of masculine expectation, yet the album sleeve finds her topless. The music--Harvey on guitar, slide guitar and violin, ably supported by bassist Stephen Vaughan and drummer Robert Ellis--is as ambiguous and intriguing. It's a jagged-edge fusion of folk-blues and post-punk abrasiveness that retains elasticity and a bruising directness, just right for a singer by turns confrontational and vulnerable. Dry see-saws on this tension, rocked by melodic hooks and lyrical barbs. Dress and Sheela-Na-Gig ("Gonna take my hips to a man that cares") have been strikingly mesmeric singles; Happy And Bleeding effectively conveys both sentiments; Hair is a perfect, slow stomp for Harvey's silken groan, while Water's white blues closes shop on an exhausting high. (Four Stars)