The album is not what it was. It still exists, in record collections, as part of the torrential streaming of everything, and in the sentimental memories of those who lament the loss of what once seemed a permanent fixture and the most exciting, unimpeachably authentic way of capturing and keeping music. Many musicians refuse to relinquish the idea — length, number of songs, conceptual framework, illusory two sides, solidity, sound — of the album. It remains worth hearing what a musician like PJ Harvey might have to say about the album, because it is where she has worked for 20 years, and so she has built up enough momentum to make her next one intriguing. She’s one of the last rock artists where this is truly the case.