Today is shaping up to be a good day for aging ‘90s alt-rock fans: Not only did L7 release a gnarly, grunge-influenced new song, “I Came Back To Bitch”—only the band’s second song since 1999—but we’ve got a new tune from PJ Harvey as well. Called “An Acre Of Land,” the song sees Polly Jean teaming up with film composer Harry Escott (Hard Candy, Shame) for a composition that recalls a more pastoral take on the Gothic sound of her 2007 album White Chalk. As on that album, here Harvey sings about wildflowers and windswept moors over plucking notes of zither and lonely strumming guitar. But she does so in her natural vocal register, a difference that makes “An Acre Of Land” exponentially warmer than anything on White Chalk.
The song was written for Dark River, Clio Bernard’s socio-realist psychodrama about a pair of siblings trying to heal the wounds of the past as they come together to take over their late parents’ farm. (How very British.) Our own A.A. Dowd was lukewarm on the film when he saw it in Toronto last fall, calling it “elegantly shot [but] dramatically inert” and “a kitchen-sink drag.” But hey, the song is lovely, if also rather bleak.
Harvey’s last album, the controversial The Hope Six Demolition Project, was released in 2016. Dark River will be released in the U.K. on February 23. No American release date has been set as of yet.