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A Woman A Man Walked By

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Audio CD, March 31, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2009 collaboration from Alt-Rock favorite PJ Harvey and producer/composer John Parish. The album was recorded in Bristol and Dorset, and mixed by Flood. A Woman A Man Walked By has been described by journalist John Harris as 'mischievous, deadly serious, elegant and poetic, and possessed of a brutal power: it is doubtful that you will hear a record as brimming with creative brio and musical invention this year'. A Woman A Man Walked By is the follow up to Harvey and Parish's previous collaboration Dance Hall At Louse Point. An accomplished producer and composer, John has recorded numerous soundtracks and has worked with artists including Eels and Giant Sand as well as Harvey. 10 tracks. Island.


"....Now, nearly 13 years after their Dance Hall At Louse Point collaboration, the former bandmates have reunited for a highly satisfying hotchpotch of tracks."

"Impressive though these arrangements are, there's an even greater pleasure to be taken from Harvey's singing. In the company of her old colleague and confidant, she abandons herself to a diverse collection of vocal personae."

"Her best turn of all comes in "A Woman A Man Walked By..."

"It's testament to Harvey's current emotional range that she can complement these almost camp hatebombs with some plaintive heartbreakers too."

"Together, Parish and Harvey sound confidently experimental, like two soldiers daring each other to ever more stupendous feats of bravery. Here's hoping this exploration continues to feed back into the work she produces under her own name, and that Parish gets his dues as one of Britain's most resourceful and imaginative studio craftsmen." -- Uncut, March 09 - Rob Young 4 Stars

"So distinctive is Polly Harvey's talent that the idea of her working with other humans can be hard to grasp."

"The most intriguing songs here are reminiscent of White Chalk's table-rapping magic....."

"Only the guttural title track fails, too redolent of Patti Smith to startle..."

"After nearly two decades this man and this woman still turn heads." -- Mojo, March 09 - Victoria Segal 4 Stars

...the best song is the lustrous, unadorned ballad Moon and Moon..

...a meaty buffet of elemental folk, college rock, filthy nursery rhymes and theatrical blues... you know there's always something electrifying to come.

...Death still stalks the halls, but the best songs go off topic: the yearning, Pavement-ish Black Hearted Love, the organ-bleeding April. The Chair concludes a baffling two minutes of musical chairs by stopping short to deliver a heartbreaking coda that forces you to play it again.....Always the unexpected - it's a fine summation of her entire career. -- The Word, April 09 - Damien Morris

A Woman A Man Walked By deploys a broader textural armoury, but no less intensity....

Parish's turbulent tapestries channel everything from volatile folkery (Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen), to the tricksily time-signatured space-jazz of The Chair and The Crow Knows Where All The Little Children Go. The latter is instrumental, though admirers of Harvey's lyrical morbidity will feel sated overall...

While this record might ultimately be a mere palette cleanser for the next stage in PJ Harvey's journey, it suggests her mouthwash tastes sweeter than most others' fine wine. -- Q Magazine, March 09 - Keith Cameron 4 Stars

The ever unpredictable PJ Harvey changes her colours again....the results are playfully kaleidoscopic. -- Harpers Bazaar, April 09

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 31, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Island Records
  • ASIN: B001U0HBHO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,823 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By NUEVE on April 28, 2009
Format: Audio CD
If I could describe this album with a word this one would be "attitude". Definitely PJ Harvey has always been recognized for being so real and pure musically and lyrically in every word she sings and every note she plays wheter it's with a guitar (Stories from the city, stories from the sea, 2000) or with a piano (White chalk, 2007). These days Ms. Harvey is careless about labels (as a matter of facts she has always been) but on this record she yells this out loud. She seems to explore textures and sounds she had stood by for quite a few years. I must admit that I'm not familiar with the work that John Parrish has done musically but definitely he helps PJ Harvey here to find herself on this record. I would say that the only track that is "radio-friendly" is the first one "Black hearted love" but this doesn't mean that the song is lacked of deepness and integrity. On the other hand songs like "April" and "A woman, a man walked by/the crow knows where all the little children go" are a work of art and the beauty of them is that Harvey and Parrish use simple elements to make with these a moment to remember. Fortunely, the rest of the songs are strong enough to stand on their own without the need of looking for a special element in them. Pj Harvey is a true poet and musician as well that is here (as in every album has always been) to let people know what music means for a woman that is in the music business WITHOUT caring about the business itself.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By jazzias on April 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
More than 12 years ago PJ Harvey and John Parish released "Dance Hall at Louse Point", and while "A Woman A Man Walked By" constitutes an improvement of sorts, few will be disappointed if their ongoing alliance suffers another hiatus of similar duration.
As before, Parish supplies the musical arrangements and Harvey the words, in that order - a division of labour which sometimes makes for an uncomfortable fit, as with "The Chair", a frantic, piano-led piece about drowning, and "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen", about playing hide-and-seek, in which the opening banjo strums are bulked out with organ as the search gets more frantic.
Each piece draws a new persona out of her. In the company of her old colleague and confidant, she abandons herself to a diverse collection of vocal personae. On "April", her glottal, nicotine-rough delivery appears to be a homage to that other West Country vocal stylist, Portishead's Beth Gibbons.
For the adolescent hide-and-seek scenario of "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen", she regresses to a breathless Celtic bawl.
"Pig Will Not", yelled through a megaphone, is built on her cacophonous howls of refusal - "I will not!" - over Parish's threshing drums
They sound like they are having a little more fun on this record, which Harvey has described as a transitional work, produced for kicks but crucial to her ongoing development as a musician. The results are far from throwaway, but there is the sense that "A Woman A Man Walked By" is a lucky bag of styles, tossed together without much thought for the cohesion that usually characterises Harvey's own albums, such as 2000's " Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea", and gives her something to rebel against for her next musical incarnation.
All in all, the results that makes A Woman Man Walks By such fun.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L.Grasslands on March 31, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Beautifully packaged in stunning white accompanied by the stark photography of Maria Mochnacz, PJ Harvey & John Parish's A Woman A Man Walked By is a collaboration Harvey needed to put her back at the top of her game. While her last 3 albums didn't quite have the same punch as her 90s material, this is just a wonderful, sardonic, expressive, mature and intelligent record. When looking through the sleeve notes what struck me was how much Harvey's words were pomes rather song lyrics, they seem to be presented as pomes on the sleeve notes, and read as pomes , So it's almost like Polly's beautifully, sincere poems set to John's music, and it works superbly. It is expressive, uncompromising, dramatic, and more luminous than her last couple of albums. Songs like the tile track and Pig Will Not are as vigorous and menacing as anything she wrote in her early days, and the Chair and Passionless, Pointless are beautifully luminous and intense. It's also the first time Polly really gets political (The Solider and Cracks In The Canvas) and the most intimate since Rid Of Me.

Officially this is very much a great collaboration of two like minded artists working in tandem, but for me, A Woman and A Man, is a PJ Harvey record, and one that is up there with her best work, kind of like the proper follow up the Is This Desire? I'm so happy to have the PJ Harvey I spent my teenage years idolizing back!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Pruski on February 10, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have all previous PJ Harvey's work and I like it a lot. But this album (co-authored by PJ and John Parish) is in an entirely different category. This is some of the very best music (and singing) I have heard in my entire life (50+). My review may be biased, because I do not like "nice" music. I puke hearing soothing music. I love aggressive, jarring, and provocative music. Some of my favorites are Bach, Coltrane, and Sonic Youth.

"Black Hearted Love" is a great rock anthem. Ranks among the very best of them. "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen" is a great song with a strange melody and rhythm, that is one of my favorites. The title song is phenomenal. After PJ screams out some obscenities in a wonderful fashion, there is some real music. Like *really real* music. Not just entertainment crap. Finally, "Pig Will Not". Oh my God, what a great song! PJ actually barks like a dog, and her barks are so haunting that I often wake up at night hearing her "Woof, woof".

Thank you, PJ and John Parish for phenomenal listening experience! I have listened to the album probably more than 40 times now.
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