- Polly Harvey took a more political and less personal approach to her songwriting on 2011's Let England Shake, drawing on her homeland's history to add a fresh approach to her work with longtime collaborators John Parish and Mick Harvey. The title track, "The Last Living Rose," and "Written on the Forehead" reaffirmed that Harvey was as forward-looking an artist as she was when Dry was released.
Rolling Stone (p.60) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The sound is muted guitar/organ balladry, heavy on melody but never rocking out, channeling her voice through different electronic filters for that extra touch of spooky alienation."
Rolling Stone (p.74) - Ranked #47 in Rolling Stone's '50 Best Albums Of 2011' -- "There's a punk sense of horror in low-key death-folk ballads like 'The Last Living Rose'..."
Spin (p.73) - "Slack, virile, and fantastically rhythmic, LET ENGLAND SHAKE is a glorious uncoiling....Musically, the record is stompy and melodic."
Spin (p.59) - Ranked #2 in Spin's 'The Top 40 Albums Of 2011' -- "PJ Harvey's voice is so heroically strong, the rustic arrangements so bracingly irreducible that LET ENGLAND SHAKE's brutal vision becomes beautiful and redemptive."
Entertainment Weekly (p.83) - "[H]er loosest, most eclectic effort in ages....It's a hoedown for the end of civilization." -- Grade: A
Magnet (p.43) - Ranked #5 in Magnet's '20 Best Albums Of 2011' -- "LET ENGLAND SHAKE is easily Harvey's most accessible record since 2000's STORIES FROM THE CITY, STORIES FROM THE SEA and, conceptually, one of her best."
Billboard (p.32) - "The standout moment, among many, is the warbling track 'Written on the Forehead' with a heavily processed psychedelic swirl dovetailing seamlessly with Niney the Observer's reggae classic 'Blood and Fire.'"
Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Of all her many guises -- doomed blues siren; righteous rock vixen; tormented Victorian ghost -- this may be her most powerful....It turns out, more than ever, Polly Harvey was made for these times."
Clash (magazine) - "Displaying the most vigorously strident songwriting of her career, its lush poetic folk is concurrently bold, barbed and muscular."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.87) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]here are some beautiful and strong moments on this album. The opening title track and 'Last Living Rose' are Polly at her unpretentious best..."
Uncut (magazine) (p.80) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "LET ENGLAND SHAKE is the sound of someone as maddened as they are enthralled, aglow with anger and passion."
Uncut (magazine) (p.35) - Ranked #1 in Uncut's '50 Best Albums Of 2011' -- "[W]ords and music that complemented one another beautifully; intelligence, emotional commitment, craftsmanship and creativity stitched together in auspicious fashion."