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Mick Harvey – Four (Acts of Love)

Mute

Mick Harvey - Four (Acts of Love)Mick Harvey‘s official biography says that he “has always thought of himself primarily as a collaborator” – understandable given the success of his collaborations with PJ Harvey, Rowland S Howard and Nick Cave, and in a way, Four (Acts of Love) can also be seen as a collaboration, although of a quite different nature.

The album comprises a suite in three acts, pieced together from songs and musical snippets of Harvey’s, interspersed with covers. The songs mostly alternate between the originals and the covers, forming a conversation between Harvey and his influences and contemporaries. The sound palette and arrangements will be familiar to anyone who has followed his past work with any interest; Harvey’s skill at judging just what

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Mick Harvey – Sketches from the Book of the Dead

Mute

One of the hardest-working sidemen of the past three decades, Mick Harvey contributed enormously to the artistic success of both Nick Cave and PJ Harvey as well as the more low profile careers of Crime and the City Solution and Anita Lane. He seems able to turn his hand to just about any instrument, has a finely honed ear for arrangement and apparently even handled The Bad Seeds’ business affairs! On the occasions he has stepped out with a record bearing his own name, it has generally been an instrumental soundtrack or interpretations of other people’s work, including two pretty definitive collections of Serge Gainsbourg songs which he translated himself (is there no end to the man’s talent?).

Finally getting round to a ‘proper’ full solo record, we might expect that after so many years in service to the dark and

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Mick Harvey (live at Bush Hall)

Bush Hall, London 27th May 2007

It’s raining. Not just raining, but absolutely pissing it down. The streets are running with water, and my eyes are so full of rain it takes me fully half an hour longer to find the venue than it should otherwise have done, meaning that by the time I get in, Mr Harvey‘s set is already underway. And by crikey, he looks like he’s having a great time.

Yes, ladies and gents, that’s the most shocking thing – Mick Harvey, who seems to have spent the last nigh-on thirty years of his career looking stern while he tries to keep some discipline among his bandmates in the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds, actually seems to be enjoying himself. Swigging contentedly from his beer, chatting away in between songs, he comes across as the all-round genial chap, even as he croons and growls his way

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