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January 2, 2022

PJ Harvey, Björk and Tori Amos Posing for Q Magazine in 1994

In 1993 and 1994, Polly Harvey, Björk and Tori Amos have rogered the charts with their special brew of spooky left-field weirdness and oestrogen-marinaded musings. Q Magazine invited the gleesome threesome over for a Tupperware Party With Attitude.

The elfin Eskimo, the kooky American chick and the mad bitch woman from hell were drinking tea and talking about other people’s perceptions of them and how wrong they always seem to be.

Gathered around a low table in a photographic studio in Islington, North London, they made for gently intense yet engaging company. Soon, the conversation was taking the unlikely B-roads hinted at in their expressly non-linear music. It is punctuated at regular intervals by staccato bursts of manic laughter.

Q Magazine’s cover, May 1994. (Photo by John Stoddart)

With five LPs between them (two unsettling albums apiece for Polly and Tori and one half-million UK seller for Björk’s startling Debut), they have given spooky, left-field major label weirdness back its good name and everyone from Kate Bush to Evan Dando a run for their money.

But what sets these women apart from the mainstream soft soul of Mariah Carey and Dina Carroll is their extraordinary singing voices. Björk’s is a heavenly hiccuping thing that almost defies terrestrial description; Polly’s is as if an opera diva had eaten a drum kit—swooping and percussive—and Tori’s is a finely tutored instrument that manages to simultaneously preach, purr and plead.

Their speaking voices are no less unusual: Björk boasts a yodeling Cockney-Icelandic hybrid with occasional East European overtones; Polly has the soft Rs and sleepily stretched vowels of her native Dorset; while Tori possesses a dreamy mid-American accent which, of the trio, bears the closest resemblance to that which you hear on her records.


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