Though not a masterpiece like "Rid Of Me" and "Stories From The City," "Is This Desire?" awakens sometimes, albeit blinking confusedly and from a drunken sleep, PJ Harvey's undeniable genius. The album is basically one big literary homage, from the "Catherine" songs to "Joy," Harvey's passionate, abrasive tribute to Flannery O Connor's " Good Country People."
Some songs, though lyrically evocative, fall flat instrumentally, specifically "My Beautiful Leah" and "The Garden." Others, like "The River" and the title track, "Is This Desire?" are simply exquisite, steeped in "aching, grieving beauty" (to quote from "The Great Gatsby"-). In spite of its defects, this album is well worth the purchase.