Picks and Pans Review: To Bring You My Love

updated 03/06/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

P J Harvey

On the fourth album from Polly Jean Harvey and the band bearing her name, the British singer-guitarist uses blues, punk, folk and rockabilly to build riveting songs steeped in primal emotion. The layers of abrasive guitars that characterized 1992's Rid of Me are mostly gone, but this is still plenty raucous: Harvey's acoustic guitar on "Send His Love to Me" is so intense that most amped-up hard-rock sounds laid-back by comparison. Her basic theme, obsessive love, is normally the province of wimps and waifs, but romantics beware: love songs this ferocious may inspire vows of celibacy among the fainthearted. When she sings "I've lain with the devil/ Cursed God above/ Forsaken heaven/ To bring you my love" on the title track, you believe every word. And when she adopts the persona of a desperate mother begging her son's father to come home in "C'mon Billy," she becomes every woman who has ever loved too much. But gender be damned; Harvey's raw, dense music rivals that of Bob Dylan himself for sheer gut-wrenching melodrama. (Island)

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