THE first single from West Dorset pop star PJ Harvey’s new album recorded at Eype Church is due to be released.

Her choice of the 19th century St Peter’s, which doubles as an arts centre, follows controversy when she upset residents during practises at the Electric Palace several years ago.

Mark Culme-Seymour, director of Eype Centre for the Arts, is a family friend and told the star’s parents she was always welcome to come to the place of worship.

A few years later she took him up on the offer and for several weeks, under a thick cloak of secrecy, PJ Harvey and her musicians recorded her new album Let England Shake.

The first single from the album, The Words That Maketh Murder, is due to be released on digital download on January 17, as well as seven-inch vinyl from February 7.

Mr Culme-Seymour said: “I was sworn to secrecy because they didn’t want a lot of people up there when they were recording.

“I have always been intrigued to see how the church would work as a recording studio and it was absolutely brilliant.”

The Mercury prizewinner wanted to book the church for 10 weeks and insisted on seclusion and secrecy to get on with her work, he said.

The recording was wrapped up in half that time.

Mr Culme-Seymour added: “Everybody concerned was impressed with the acoustics in the chapel.

“We can now offer the space to future musicians.”

As a way of saying thank you the 41-year-old performer came back in December for a concert and nearly 200 braved the snow to see her.

He added: “Normally with our literary festivals it is like a sea of grey so it was really nice to have so many young people.

“We didn’t do any advertising for that at all.”