- Album Review 20th October 2000

Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea--the sixth album from most incendiary female British performer to emerge in the 1990s--is as powerful a record as any Polly Jean Harvey has made. Masterfully striking a balance between her blues-folk roots, avant-leanings, and soaring pop sensibility, it serves as a summary of Harvey's prior achievements. The abrasive, jagged guitars hark back to her fiery 1992 debut album, Dry on the ballistic yet anthemic opener, "Big Exit," while the dreamy, opulent closer, "We Float," demonstrates her maturity as a songwriter.
The clamor and emotional rush of a heady relationship--particularly on her duet with Thom Yorke "This Mess We're In"--gives the album a ferocious clarity. The production skills of Mick Harvey (Nick Cave's Bad Seeds) lends depth and assurance. And, though PJ quotes from Many influences--The Who, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and even West Side Story her indomitable presence shines throughout.
Stories From The City is the work of a singular talent at the peak of her powers.

Gavin Martin