THE AGE - January 22nd, 2003
PJ Harvey Returns Down Under
Alternative rock star PJ Harvey might be many things - talented, driven, angst-ridden and sexy, to name just a few - but if one thing is certain, she's one of a kind.
The sweetly spoken English lass burst onto the music scene in the early 1990s when PJ Harvey, then the name for her three-piece band, released their debut album Dry to worldwide critical acclaim.
But Polly Jean disbanded the trio in 1993 to concentrate on her own musical exploration and pursue collaborations with other performers, most notably Australia's Nick Cave, Tricky, and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.
A string of albums, all showcasing different parts of her personality, have culminated in her most recent offering, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.
Widely regarded as her most mature, personal and inspired effort, the album, released in late 2000, again put the talented songstress in the spotlight as one of the world's most starkly original and ground-breaking artists.
And she's got a soft spot for Australia, returning to our shores for another blistering tour, which for the second time includes the Big Day Out concert series as well as a number of smaller, more intimate gigs.
But there's an added incentive for coming Down Under.
"Obviously the incredible, lovely weather," she told AAP, having just left cold and rainy Dorset in southern England for Australia's heat.
Harvey's on-stage performances are always dynamic and intense, and patrons at the Big Day Out will certainly be drawn to the main stage when she takes the stage with her guitar and powerful voice.
And amid the mainstream cloning of pop's performers, Harvey remains fiercely protective of her unique signature style.
"(Musical imitation has) been there since time began, but not many people have an original idea these days - and it seems to be getting worse," she said.
"It is very, very important to me to not only try to sell my own craft but try and find new directions myself, you know, I just don't want to keep repeating myself."
Not one to rush her art, Polly Jean said she spent most of last year writing songs for her seventh album, which she'll record later this year.
Fans left salivating almost three years for her next body of work can expect typical PJ Harvey material - that is, vastly different from anything she's tried previously.
"I always, with every album, try and experiment with something I haven't done before ... it'll be very different from the last album," she said.
"It's a lot rougher, a lot more raw, a lot more simple really."
PJ Harvey joins The Foo Fighters, Jane's Addiction, Queens of the Stoneage, The Living End, The Vines, Rocket Science and Waikiki on the Big Day Out concert tour.
The event rolls into Sydney on Saturday (January 25), Melbourne on January 27, and Adelaide on January 31 before this year's event wraps up in Perth on February 2.