PJ Harvey - When Under Ether

Harvey sings with none of the vengeance or anger which characterised a lot of her early work, but instead sings in a sweet and strangely innocent way.

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Released 17 Sep 2007 | | By Samantha Villis | Rating: 3-5
PJ Harvey - When Under Ether

The cover of Miss Polly's latest release shows her in Victorian regalia, blurry, face obscured by a mass of wild curls on top of her head, fists clenched, and bathed in red light. It's a fitting visual and reflects the single's haunted and unsettled tone.

Harvey sings with none of the vengeance or anger which characterised a lot of her early work, but instead sings in a sweet and strangely innocent way. Like a follow up to 'Uh Huh Her''s 'Pocket Knife', a simple repetitive rhythm backs a story of a young girl trying to make her own way in the world. 'When Under Ether' appears to be the story of that same girl undergoing an abortion, though rather than being a harrowing experience, instead there is the pervading feeling that she should be thankful to be rid of "something inside me/Unborn and unblessed".

Harvey's ability to tell an enchanting story remains intact, and this single makes the wait for the new album seem like much too long to wait.