Polly (PJ) Harvey views love as both a life force and a black hole; those who cling to it like an article of faith are doomed to get burned, living out their lives in some kind of joyless purgatory. Sure, Harvey’s a romantic nihilist, but she’s also a brilliant formalist, and Is This Desire? may be her most musically daring and fully realized effort. Conjuring chilly, postindustrial soundscapes that sound like assembly workers toiling in hell, her voice floating over everything like a spooked seductress, Desire seethes with hypnotic power. A
Is This Desire?