Dry is the debut studio album by English singer-songwriter and musician PJ Harvey, released on 30 March 1992 on Too Pure Records. The album was recorded at The Icehouse, a local studio in Yeovil, United Kingdom. The first 5000 LPs and first 1000 CDs included demo versions of the album's tracks and Dry was subsequently released in the United States on Indigo Records in the US. Both versions were released in 1992.
Speaking to Filter magazine in 2004, Harvey said of her debut album: "Dry is the first chance I ever had to make a record and I thought it would be my last. So, I put everything I had into it. It was a very extreme record. It was a great joy for me to be able to make it. I never thought I'd have that opportunity, so I felt like I had to get everything on it as well as I possibly could, because it was probably my only chance. It felt very extreme for that reason."
Upon its release, Dry received positive critical acclaim. Former Village Voice editor and Pazz & Jop journalist Robert Christgau described the album as an "essential feminist distinction between egoist bullroar and honest irrational outpouring--and of course by her postrockist guitar, where she starts to reinvent her instrument the way grrrl-punks reinvent their form," rating the album an A-. According to Variety, the album was “not so much stripped-down rock as it is flayed-alive rock”. MTV described it as "a dark, twisted, arresting work which sounds both rubbed red raw and invigorating", while the NME praised it as "a crossover point possessing natural songwriting and scorching guitar noise" in its 9/10 review. Around the time of the album’s release, Harvey attracted some controversy for posing topless, with her back to the camera and baring an unshaven armpit, on the cover of NME. Received as well in the States as the UK, the album prompted Rolling Stone magazine to name the then-22-year-old Harvey the year's Best Songwriter and Best New Female Singer. In spite of the acclaim, "Sheela-Na-Gig" was the only single to chart in the US, at #9 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.