A Woman a Man Walked By

On 2007's White Chalk, Polly Harvey made some of the quietest and most riveting music of her career. That record's coiled menace returns on this second set with longtime collaborator John Parish. Her latest also finds her at her most gleefully deranged. Parish provides music, while Harvey recites, sings and mangles the lyrics. "Pig Will Not," a howling Captain Beefheart—style blues, features her barking (more English terrier than pit bull). But she's most animalistic on the title track, cornering a "woman/man" with "chicken—liver balls" and echoing the strap—on threat from her classic "50Ft Queenie." She's still not a girl to take home to Mama.