With its choke-hold guitar energy and the controlled vocal eruptions of Polly Harvey, this British trio created a college-radio splash on this side of the Atlantic There's an undeniable electricity to Dry, the band's debut: These musical primitives make exciting use of dynamics and twisted arrangements. As a frontwoman, Harvey commands attention: She cunningly mixes sensuality and feminist awareness in conversational hooks. An air Deja Vu also wafts around the album; not a single angry riff, raw melody or thorny lyric on it would've surprised postpunk trend spotters back in '8L The (big) difference between PJ Harvey and the half-forgotten bands of that period is focus — and competence. Polly Harvey only plays rough when she wants to, for emphasis. If that sounds like progress, Dry will slake your thirst for a Patti Smith fix — maybe permanently.
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