PJ Harvey has just released her first single A Child’s Question, August of her upcoming album I Inside The Old Year Dying to be released on Partisan Records. PJ Harvey’s tenth studio album I Inside the Old Year Dying marks her first release in seven years, following UK #1 album The Hope Six Demolition Project. On this album, which was recorded with long-time creative collaborators John Parish and Flood, PJ Harvey builds a sonic universe somehow located in a space between life’s opposites, and between recent history and the ancient past. Scattered with biblical imagery and references to Shakespeare, all of these distinctions ultimately dissolve into something profoundly uplifting and redemptive. In a career that can often seem one long radical departure, it may be hard to imagine how PJ Harvey might still surprise. I Inside The Old Year Dying answers that question from its opening bars. After the large-scale, future-facing, often raucous anthems of The Hope Six Demolition Project, it might not be unexpected that Harvey’s songwriting would take a more inward direction. Few, though, will have anticipated so minimalist a turn, and into quite so eerie a landscape: indeed, it takes the eye a moment to adjust to the light, and the ear to the silence. Such an intimate tone would have been impossible to achieve without Harvey contracting her band to her most trusted, long-term musical associates: Flood and John Parish. The pared-down-to-the-bone instrumentation actively clears a space for itself: first impressions are of an impromptu gig for an audience primarily composed of ghosts and trees. For all the polish of the final results, each song seems to have the unity of a single-cell organism, more grown than written: no surprise, then, to discover that I Inside was recorded live in a single room, with the songs often beginning as collective improvisations between Polly, John, Flood and Cecil with his cut-up and treated field recordings, all ably captured by Rob Kirwan, who previously recorded both Hope Six and Let England Shake.