If you believe the cliche, a good song will still hold up even if it’s played solo on an acoustic guitar, without any fancy production, arrangements, instrumentation or other bells and whistles. By that measure, the 11 raw, spindly cuts from provocative singer-guitarist Polly Jean Harvey’s 1992 breakthrough debut Dry are damn fine songs. Even if she does add the occasional bell and whistle by overdubbing some electric guitar or basic percussion. Either way, these versions are every bit as magnetic, intense and tightly wound as their full-band counterparts. Pair them for maximum effect and impact.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Dry is the first release in a comprehensive reissue campaign which will see PJ Harvey’s entire back catalogue — plus her two albums in collaboration with John Parish — released on vinyl over the next 12 months. For the first time, each of PJ Harvey’s album demos will also be available as a stand-alone album. This catalogue project will celebrate every aspect of Harvey’s recording career and afford a comprehensive and exciting look at the evolution of one of the most singular and extraordinary artists of modern times. Dry Demos is an 11-track collection of demos of all songs from the debut studio album Dry by PJ Harvey, available for the first time since 1992 and previously unreleased as a standalone album. Featuring brand-new artwork with previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz.”