Due out in September, Harvey's fifth album remains an enigma even for those working closely with the English sensation, who seldom grants interviews or press access. Though the elusive Harvey plans to play European festival gigs from Aug. 7 through Aug. 31, she has not announced tour plans for the United States yet and will not divulge any juicy details about the forthcoming disc.
Born Polly Jean Harvey 28 years ago, the Rolling Stone "1995 Artist of the Year" recorded her latest venture in a London studio with producer Flood, who also turned the knobs on the 1995 breakthrough disc, To Bring You My Love. Though the sensual brunette recorded all vocals and guitars for the album, she has assembled a travelling crew of musicians to help carry the load. Her ensemble includes multi-instrumentalist Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu and the Pixies), longtime guitar collaborator John Parish, drummer Rob Ellis and her previous touring slide-guitarist, Jeremy Hogg.
Harvey will launch her first tour since 1995 in Castellon, Spain, at the Benicassim Festival and close it out at the Dell Unita Festival in Bologna, Italy. Sometime during that tour, the first single from Is This Desire? will hit radio waves across the U.S.
Taking respite from her latest album, Harvey also spent the last three years collaborating with artists such as Nick Cave and Tricky, and acting in independent director Hal Hartley's film, The Book of Life. That movie will debut at several British film festivals before being broadcast on the French arts channel ARTE in late 1999. (Anni Layne)