Harvey exposes the heart and soul of each songwriter with characteristics resembling a carnal union between master song translators Johnny Cash and Nina Simone. He tackles such spiritually opposite songwriters as Tim Buckley (the gloomy "The River"), Lee Hazlewood (the nostalgic "First St. Blues") and Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the Gun Club (the mournful "Mother of Earth") with astonishingly romantic and cinematic results.
Harvey is obviously not the most fertile songwriter or proficient vocalist, but his interpretative skills make these almost-alt-country home-studio recordings seem as though they are birthed from the fruit of his loins and not merely an attempt to cash in on the success of his longtime relationship with Cave. It's apparent that Harvey embraces the vital and passionate foundation of other songwriters' dreams and poetry, and delivers them effortlessly and completely personally. The album is an emotionally powerful lyrical trip, wherein Harvey steers lush string arrangements and understated vocals into one's subconscious, reconfirming his talents as an architect of decoding the words and emotions of other master storytellers.