PJ Harvey & John Parish A Woman A Man Walked By

Though regular collaborators, this is the first album credited as such since 1996's understated Dance Hall at Louse Point. While both PJ Harvey and John Parish have histories of collaborative work, when paired together they bring out the best in each other. Immediately disregarding Harvey's eloquently creepy, strictly piano last album, White Chalk, which Parish co-produced, the two rip right into the grungy rock of "Black Hearted Love," showing that this album is one of little relation. In fact, Harvey has called this simply a "project," yet she shouldn't be so hesitant to include this alongside her solo work. Although Parish is responsible for everything but the vocals and lyrics, what he extracts from Polly are some of the rawest performances she's done since, well, Rid of Me. She squawks her way through the despondent "April" and fights off demonic possession on "Pig Will Not," as Parish thrashes about on his tinny guitar. It feels weird acknowledging such freedom by one of the most liberated artists of the last 20 years but what these two can do together shouldn't be minimized. (Island)