Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Transported to another time and place, but where am I?
on October 1, 2013
I really like - no, love - PJ Harvey's work because she defies expectations and is original and thoughtful, and I appreciate her sense of humor. White Chalk is definitely, I think, one of her best albums. It's a bit of a puzzle, though. On first listening to it, I felt very dislocated; I can't think of any other albums I've listened to that are remotely like it, and it's very different from her other albums, although it incorporates many themes she's explored before. I sense something of the cold Dorset coast on a foggy day, the stifling weight of time, the burden of love and loss, of mortality and consciousness. The music seems to me to transcend the normal dimensions of time and space to arrive at somewhere that feels universal. In a way the songs seem so haunted and delicate that they might break, but at the same time as enduring and ancient as the cliffs of Dover. I find myself drawn back to this album again and again, because I can't really define it well enough, or define my reaction to it well enough, but listening to it feels almost like a religious experience for me, as if the album has tapped into a deep vein of consciousness floating somewhere just out of reach....