PJ Harvey
from Q, #69 June 1992.
Dry
TOO PURE (PURE 10)
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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)

Martin Aston