For me, a new PJ Harvey album is a cause to celebrate. There hasn't been a single one I haven't enjoyed listening to again and again, so when I found out that the theme of LES was war, I was slightly concerned -I mean who wants to listen to an hour of war songs?- Not me, that's for sure. However, whatever misgivings I might have had about the album were torpedo'd halfway through the first song.
Put simply, this is PJ's finest effort since 2000's Stories from the City, Stories From the Sea.
You see, this album is not only about war, it's about nationalism and imperialism as well and how their effects are felt by the people on the receiving end of their twin pronged attack.
This is a history lesson on the regimes and bloodshed of the reasonably recent past, a history lesson done with beautiful, haunting vocals and heartstring tugging guitars. It's Harveys' lament to her country, chronicling her distress and her love for England. Just Brilliant.
Go and buy it, download it, whatever - just make sure you get a copy.