Since Steve Albini gave Rid of Me such an uncompromisingly noisy finish, it may have made sense for Polly Harvey to release her original demos, augmented by several unreleased songs, six months later as an album. After all, the initial British pressings of Dry came with a bonus disc of her demos. Still, the official, independent release of 4-Track Demos suggests that Harvey wanted to give these songs another chance for listeners who found Rid of Me too abrasive. Even for those who enjoyed Rid of Me, 4-Track Demos is a revelatory experience, since it arguably captures the raw emotion of the songs better the official record. A handful of songs from the record aren't repeated in demo form -- namely "Missed," "Man-Size," "Highway 61 Revisited," "Dry," and "Me-Jane" -- but they're replaced by the previously unreleased "Reeling," "Driving," "Hardly Wait," "Easy," "M-Bike," and "Goodnight," most of which are easily the equal of the songs that were actually released, and that's what makes 4-Track Demos necessary for every Harvey fan, not just collectors.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine