Music critics like to categorise everything, box everything, and reduce everything. Everyone knows that, and everyone, audience and artists alike, condemn them for it. But doing this is actually fine and secretly artists often love to be compared to the artists they are mimicking.
But anyway, sometimes you are confronted with a talent that simply lays waste to boxes and reductions, rendering one completely speechless. Polly Jean Harvey is, of course, one of these and Please Leave Quietly is about as perfect a live DVD as you can get.
Her first ever live film, directed by old friend Maria Mochnacz, sees PJ touring her Uh Huh Her album with her band in Europe and the United States in 2003-04. Her vision for the film was for it to be a "patchwork quilt" conveying the scatty, unkempt way of life on the road - "just like living underwater", according to the goddess herself.
And faithful to her premise, this is a collage of concert footage, rehearsals and blurry scenes of bustling city life. Mochnacz wanders back stage, amongst the audience and in the streets with a hand-held camera, giving the film the same choppy urgency that makes Harvey's music so arresting.
First track Meet Ze Monsta is what she is all about: loud noise from a little lady in a little dress with spades of attitude and aggression. Big Exit loses none of its lushness on stage, but is sadly the only track here from her masterpiece, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea.
It's You exhibits the poetry of her lyrics and with The Darker Days of Me and Him, she even does heartbreak with an ominous punk swagger. Anyone who hasn't seen her live will be desperate to after seeing this. There are also a couple of unreleased tracks going: Uh Huh Her and Evol.
Back stage footage includes PJ drunk on tequila, in make-up (and just how does she manage to keep her hair so immaculate despite all that rocking around on stage?) and interviews with her crew.
So wow. What music, what style, but also what a foxy little thing PJ is. Any man, or woman for that matter, who doesn’t want carnal relations with her has no business calling themselves members of the human race. Perhaps this DVD should come with a warning that it may bring on the irresistible urge to go on a pilgrimage to Dorset, seek out the feminist icon and propose frenzied marriage.
The film also includes a 28-minute interview with her, where she discusses the making of the Uh Huh Her album, performing, and her artwork. She is strangely normal you know.