It says a lot that this is the first of PJ Harvey's 10 solo and collaborative albums to not feature her portrait on the cover.
Though she first introduced her war singer-reporter persona on the song Civil War Correspondent from 1995's Dance Hall at Louse Point, her latest album Let England Shake is the most outward-looking and overtly political statement from the Dorset-bred singer to date.
Never one to repeat herself, she has replaced the sparse, introverted mood of 2007's White Chalk with a fiery protest album which questions her country's actions and convictions from the battle-scarred backdrops of Afghanistan and Gallipoli.
The Last Living Rose pulses with patriotic yet funereal brass, and The Glorious Land features ironic snatches of battle horns and glistening guitar tone courtsey of longstanding collaborators John Parish and Flood. On the haunting On Battleship Hill, PJ brings to mind socially-conscious folk singers of the 1960s like Sandy Denny and Jacqui McShee.
And the repeated question "What if I take my problems to the United Nations?" on first single The Words That Maketh Murder resonates with post-Iraq war anger without sounding contrived.
This is the ambitious sound of an artist at the peak of her powers.