During her North American tour to support last year’s Hope Six Demolition Project, PJ Harvey stopped by The Late Show to perform the album’s second single, “The Community of Hope.” Harvey brought along a large band – three guitars, two drummers, two horns, a bass, and a keyboard – for an unwavering rock and roll march.
Harvey stood centerstage in a bright blue jacket and a tall, striking headpiece as she delivered lines about development and gentrification in Washington D.C. After two short verses, Harvey settled on a single phrase and repeated it over and over again: “They’re gonna put a Walmart here.” Various band members sang with her, so as many as six voices were raised in unison.
The sound of “The Community of Hope” was based on an unhurried rock blueprint perfected in the late Sixties. The guitars lingered over a simple progression, and the horns also played the song’s primary riff, thickening the sound as they might in an early garage rock tune. The only flourish came from one drummer, who occasionally departed from the stolid beat to insert a pleasing flurry of percussion.
Harvey released Hope Six Demolition Project, her ninth studio LP, last April. It earned a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.