PJ Harvey’s first new album in five years is due out in April, and the first single, “The Wheel,” features the same rich instrumental texture that helped make Let England Shake a critical success. “The Wheel” centers around a hard-driving chord progression embellished with some serious electric guitar riffs, a saxophone hook, and male-dominated backing vocals, all of which will be familiar to fans of Let England Shake. The overall effect is boisterous and urgent, befitting the eerie chorus: “Hey little children don’t disappear/ Lost upon a revolving wheel.”
Today Harvey released a music video that helps explain the lyrics. The video is a travelogue of Kosovo, where thousands of ethnic Albanians, including many children, were killed during the Kosovo War of the late ’90s, and hundreds of thousands more were displaced. “The song ‘The Wheel’ has the journey to Kosovo at its center,” says Seamus Murphy, the war photographer who directed the video, in a statement to Vice. “The sight of a revolving fairground wheel in Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje near the capital Pristina is the concrete reference point for the title.” In addition to that wheel, the video features footage of dilapidated buildings, children frolicking in a landfill, snowflakes falling in front of a giant poster of Bill Clinton on the side of a building, and an old man dancing with a glass of water balanced on his head, among other haunting images. The Hope Six Demolition Project is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes.