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Kate Bush - Lionheart CD (album) cover

LIONHEART

Kate Bush

 

Prog Related

3.33 | 157 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Kate Bush’s second album is a purely commercial endeavor, a blatant attempt to capitalize on the popularity of her debut. Unlike the slow-cooked ‘The Kick Inside’, this album was put together quickly in a French studio as Bush pondered her newfound celebrity and prepared for her one and only extended tour, which began shortly after this album’s release.

In addition to the hurried recording, this album was further compromised by the liberal use of ‘product placement’, with Disney references and sound bites on “In Search of Peter Pan”; suspiciously convenient references to Hammer Horror Studios in “Hammer Horror” at a time when that studio was aggressively working to reestablish its reputation; and the wrapped-in-the-flag tear-jerker "Oh, England, My Lionheart" that even Ms. Bush herself decried as a mistake during the latter eighties. These were not like the compositions she brooded over for years that made it onto her first album. For the most part they appear to have been put together rather hurriedly, and for the most part lack the élan of those earlier works.

There are a few exceptions, most notably the loose and charming “Wow” and the lightly jazzy “Fullhouse”, but otherwise this is rather tepid stuff.

The opening “Symphony in Blue” is a pleasant enough composition, but the lyrics tell about seeing the world in blues and reds, and speak of how sex is good for blood circulation. I don’t get it.

“In Search of Peter Pan” plays like an abstract Disney movie trailer. I’m surprised Disney hasn’t snatched it up for an animated film somewhere along the line. Ms. Bush certainly has experience in this department, having contributed scores to ‘Brazil’, ‘The Magician of Lublin’, and other films.

“Wow” has a comfortable arrangement with predictable but still appealing choruses, and Ms. Bush showcases her incredible vocal range to great effect. This was the only single from the album I’m aware of.

“Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake” is a bit closer to her eighties albums, full of mildly dissonant chords and her unique ability to screech in tune. This is one of the more interesting tracks on the album.

I really can’t listen to “Oh England my Lionheart”. It just sounds so contrived and well- scripted that I have to wonder if this was also intended to be a pop single. This compliments the previous track in a sense, mostly by emphasizing that the former song is much better.

Ms. Bush seems to be sampling with various percussion and vocal techniques on “Fullhouse”, the kind she would employ more fully on later albums, but a bit more subdued here, although the lyrics here seem to be describing someone throwing a bit of a tantrum.

“In the Warm Room” is another of Ms. Bush’s mellow, introspective and piano-dominated tunes full of weird lyrics about a seductive woman who apparently both attracts and deceives her beau. Odd stuff.

As is “Kashka from Baghdad”, a sultry score that on closer examination is about an Arab guy who apparently is with another guy. In the Biblical sense. I’ll say one thing for Ms. Bush – she certainly is creative in her choices of topics for her songs.

I don’t have a clue what “Coffee Homeground” is supposed to be about, but it sounds like a couple of the cabaret-style tracks from her first album and inevitably gets me to humming old show tunes whenever I hear it.

Finally the album ends with “Hammer Horror”, a dramatic piano/organ score which ebbs and flows a bit, including at times some synthesized strings, sporadic heavy guitar, and more stage singing. Since this is a song about scary movies, the overly dramatic prose is probably not out-of-line, but there’s really not much about this song to distinguish it beyond Ms. Bush’s own voice.

This is a rather weak album, especially so if you have heard what Kate Bush is actually capable of. I would say it is probably her weakest studio album, and in fact wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have everything else by her, in which case you probably have this already anyway. So 2.4 stars, but her work would get better in the eighties after she takes a bit more control over her career.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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