PJ Harvey’s last album was the Grammy-nominated The Hope Six Demolition Project, released back in 2016 and included that album’s tour. Harvey then began several years of experimentation and collaboration with John Parish and Flood, the result is PJ Harvey’s upcoming album I Inside The Old Year Dying.
Recorded with producers Flood and Parish, the album was inspired by Harvey’s epic poem, Orlam. Harvey said the album features improvisations with the two producers: “I think the album is about searching, looking—the intensity of first love, and seeking meaning. Not that there has to be a message, but the feeling I get from the record is one of love—it’s tinged with sadness and loss, but it’s loving. I think that’s what makes it feel so welcoming: so open.”
Harvey has recently been reissuing her discography, including B-Sides, Demos & Rarities. Last summer, she shared a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Who by Fire, which featured in Sharon Horgan’s Bad Sisters series. The first taste of this project is the new single, A Child’s Question, August. The track is a slow-moving, thoughtful and poetic meditation paired with stripped back instrumentation. The main driving force of the song is a sinister, plodding drum beat. Guitars are present, but never focused on, rather muddily swelling in the background. The resulting soundscape is hauntingly beautiful and the atmosphere very intriguing.
Considering Harvey’s past work, this poetic direction is not surprising, and it will be seen where A Child’s Question, August and I Inside The Old Year Dying belong as a whole and to see which direction the project will take Harvey’s winding and incredibly impressive career.
I Inside The Old Year Dying is out on 7th July via Partisan Records.