Island - 2004 - 41 minutes

After the success of 2001's Mercury Prize-winning 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea' - the fact that she was that award's first female winner was rather eclipsed by the events of 9/11 - Polly Jean Harvey returns to the fray with 'Uh Huh Her'.

This has an altogether rawer sound than its predecessor, leaning further towards the edginess of 1995's 'To Bring You My Love' than the more mainstream 'Stories...' The notes scribbled on the artwork for 'Uh Huh Her' ("too normal? too PJH?", "if struggling with a song, drop out the thing you like the most") indicate an artist more interested in getting away from her immediate past than revisiting it.

To that end, she succeeds, with plenty of dark sleazy blues seamed through 'Uh Huh Her', from ominous opening track 'The Life And Death Of Mr Badmouth' to the bass-heavy riff on 'It's You'. These are balanced with more minimal tracks, including the sombre acoustic 'The Desperate Kingdom of Love' and atmospheric murder ballad 'Pocket Knife'.

Always challenging, ever brilliant, PJ Harvey's 'Uh Huh Her' is a complicated itch that gets under your skin and just won't leave you alone.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: The Life And Death Of Mr Badmouth - Shame - Who The F**k? - The Pocket Knife - The Letter - The Slow Drug - No Child Of Mine - Cat On The Wall - You Come Through - It's You - The End - The Desperate Kingdom Of Love - Seagulls - The Darker Days Of Me & Him - Who The F**k? (Video)