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P.J. Harvey - Shaker Aamer


Today’s track of the day is so for several reasons, I wonder if you can guess why?

Yes you’re right, partly because it’s a P.J Harvey creation and any number from the profusion of her tunes more than warrants a place in an online Zine or printed page but carry on, there’s something a little deeper.

Yes, right again, it is a new release and being the savvy, musically fiendish journalists we are at Far Out, this track wasn’t ever going to slip down the blindside was it? Yet, today’s track of the day isn’t picked on the artist’s past merit or how hot off the press this superb recording is, in fact this noise could’ve been stirred in the vocal chords of countless others, ‘cool’ or not and it still would’ve made the grade.


Why? Because through the song Harvey attacks a pertinent political problem, in highlighting the pernicious treatment of English Guantanamo bay resident Shaker Aamer, whilst purveying an air of sonic class, a feat and topic many, renowned others fail in, let alone go anywhere near.

As you may know this singer – songwriter is certainly not shy of voicing her concerns about the ailing state of the world, depicted in the most recent album Let England Shake, yet unlike the sublime poetics found in previous records Harvey opts for some pretty straightforward syntax in Shaker Aamer that reflects the situation aptly as, after all, it’s plain and simple to understand the injustice afoot in the dubious detention center:

Throughout the song Harvey sings as if a detainee describing the torment of hunger strikes, feeding tubes, confiscation of treasured possessions, restraining chairs and passive security guards whilst maintaining a simplistic, lo-fi guitar and vocal performance entwined with a safe and steady drum beat.

This is clearly not one of P.J. Harvey’s most glittering efforts but that’s not the issue here, listen intently and you will discover what is.

Joshua Hevicon