By Bill Wyman
Updated October 02, 1992 at 04:00 AM EDT

The American debut of British singer-songwriter Polly Jean Harvey is a scorching portrait of the dark side of the female psyche. In ”Oh My Lover,” the singer, stripped of dignity, literally begs for attention; in the concussive ”Sheela-Na-Gig,” a man ridicules a woman’s pride in her body. Harvey redeems her disturbing subject matter with cathartic vocals and her own caustic guitar and violin playing. Dry is an uncompromising work of exhilarating, cauterizing beauty. A+