The heavily embargoed album -- Polly's first solo project in three years -- is a more varied work than its predecessors, with hip hop, jazz and lush orchestration all cropping up among the twelve tracks. Most of the material was written in 1996 during what Harvey identifies as "an incredibly low patch," which she finally left behind only five months ago. A reluctant interviewee, she's recently spoken to the ultra-hip UK style magazine Dazed & Confused about the record. Describing herself as "happier now than I've ever been before," Polly was surprised that, when she completed Is This Desire? she liked it: "That's an unusual feeling for me. I don't think I've ever finished a piece of work and felt pleased with it."
Harvey has long since abandoned London and returned to the Dorset countryside where she was raised. She claims to have few friends that post-date her success and has been single for some time. "A little romance wouldn't go amiss," she admits.
At the moment, she's touring the European festival circuit with a band that features long-time drum cohort Rob Ellis, guitarist John Parish (former frontman of Polly's first band, Automatic Dlimini, and the man with whom she collaborated on 1996's Dance Hall At Louise Point album) and venerable multi-instrumentalist Eric Drew Feldman, an alumnus of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band.
Next up, Polly's acting debut, playing, of all things, Mary Magdelene in a forthcoming Hal Hartley movie, The Book Of Life. Filming her role was apparently enough of a blast for her to be considering serious acting tuition in the near future.
Full track listing of Is This Desire? is: "Angeline"; "The Sky Lit Up"; "The Wind"; "My Beautiful Leah"; "A Perfect Day Elise"; "Catherine;" "Electric Light"; "The Garden"; "Joy"; "The River"; "No Girl So Sweet" and "Is This Desire?"
(August 19, 1998)