PJ Harvey wasn’t up for recording a regular album, so she took it on the road.
In a manner of speaking, The Hope Six Demolition Project, the star’s 2016 output, witnessed in studio by passers-by and compiled from souls around the world, is apparently more of a travelogue than might be suggested by Harvey and co nutting out tunes in London.
Traversing the globe to such sites as Kosovo, Afghanistan and, what might appear counterintuitive, Northwest Washington DC (the internationally frequented quadrant of the capital), Harvey draws on her experiences and encounters to craft new work; the inspirations abroad here interspliced with their corresponding tracks and recording sessions. The particular choices and cinematography will endear those familiar with the areas, certainly among them this author and former Dupont Circle resident who fondly remembers the neighbourhood. The locations here resplendent but for the myriad social issues, A Dog Called Money, in passing visits with limited elaboration, goes so far as to tap the surfaces.
Capturing some stunning scenery and cultures not always front and centre in cinema, regretfully we likewise spend too limited a time with Harvey and any number of the individuals we fleetingly meet along the way to reckon properly with just how any day, visit or exchange informed any which staple of the album. Pointedly drawing a link in the editing room between some instances on the road and later creativity, confluence which may be readily apparent to some, and certainly no less to those artists with such an emotional stake in this work, will conversely appear mightily indiscernible to many more.
A more traditional jazz sequence set against a public setting we are treated to far distant does notably stand out among the varied avenues which informed the project. A Dog Called Money too fares better with the more naturalistic travel sequences which still jar somewhat with those moments, interspersed interchangeably with that impromptu or more organic, where some of those happened upon clearly didn’t mind pausing for the camera. Many more vignettes, given the removed nature of the documentarians who overwhelmingly rely on the implicit and the multitude of inferences one could fairly draw from Harvey’s relatively oblique output, will invariably render much of that intended near imperceptible for abounding viewers.
A Dog Called Money screens as part of the Sydney Film Festival on Wednesday 5 June at 8:30PM and Monday 10 June at 4PM at Dendy Cinemas Newtown and Friday 14 June at 8:30PM at Event Cinemas George Street