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Kate Bush - Aerial CD (album) cover

AERIAL

Kate Bush

 

Prog Related

3.76 | 175 ratings

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Chris S
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Aerial arrived not a moment too soon...or late depending on how you view it.It is made up to 2 CD's. Disc one being ' A Sea Of Honey' and Disc 2 ' A Sky Of Honey'. Without question as good as the acclaimed Hounds Of Love album from the mid eighties especially the conceptual ' A Sky Of Honey'. A Sea Of Honey starts with the first single off the album called ' King Of The Mountain'. Great driving rythm and pointed lyrics about Elvis Presley, questioning his death or rumours of media hype on his possible self enforced exile. It is a great song and should do well with the charts even if it is so far removed from all the commercial junk that normally charts these days.A good song all round and a fitting introduction to the album. It is also worth pointing out the title of the album being Aerial, meaning unsubstantial or imaginary or , suggestive of air, as in lightness. As the album progresses you begin to understand what this means. She is pointing at a ' space' between dimensions, shifting paradigms. Make any sense? I hope so.' Pi' is the next track and has some great keyboard layers and accoustic guitar whilst KB sings resolutely about the infinity of numbers as in Pi. Great concept for a song and she sure knows her formulae. Her vocalization on ' Pi ' is incredible and the timing of chorus intro works to perfection.' Bertie' follows which is a simple song of affirmation of her love for her ' sun' or son.' Mrs Bartolozzi' continues and is an amusing analogy of relationships and laundry and washing machines! Absurd lyrics maybe but musically a great track and one of the strongest off A Sea Of Honey. The piano work from KB is great and the song just damn eccentric and hauntingly hypnotic. Next up we have a return to the references of the need to disappear from the scrutiny of the public on ' How To Be Invisible'. Excellent guitar riffs created by the wizardry of Dan McIntosh. Kate starts beginning to really stretch her voice now and the album begins to heat up. KB is known for being quite a recluse and this song explains how important ' disappearing' is for her. The problem is she needs to go through labyrinths and mazes to find it. Irony for sure with lyrics like " Eyes of braille,' stems of wallflowers to.. storms in swimming pools and a pinch of keyholes" Who needs drugs just read Kate Bush's lyrics on Aerial. The next song is ' Joanni' and has some gabrielesque percussion feel. Not sure who she is referring to in a warlike situation. It reminds me a lot of Roger Waters and '' Yellow Rose' on his Amused To death album, a tribute to a chinese girl killed in Tianeman Square by troops live on television. A tribute song anyways, musically not bad. ' Coral Room' closes disc one with some more beautiful piano work and singing by Michael Wood. A haunting song and sombre too. Vulnerable and KB bares her innermost frailties.

A Sky Of Honey ( disc 2 ) I cannot recommend highly enough. To all those lovers of conceptual albums then don't let this one slip away. Blackbird birsong sets the theme on ' Prelude' and little Bertie referencing paradigm shifts again about birds making words.' Prologue' has a great sense of space and the keyboard timings mixed with KB's piano and voice make for one of the highlights of the album. It kind of gets in a rut for about six minutes and rambles but it's lack of purpose is what makes it appealing. You almost think it will break into something bigger at any time but the restraint works a treat. John Giblin's bass work ( of Simple Minds fame ) is exceptional throughout the album. Seagull sounds hint at nostalgia and return the Sea/Sky theme. The cover artwork is in fact Sea and Sky of Honey, almost like a mirror image. If anyone know Tangerine Dream's Stratosfear album artwork will know what I mean. The blackbird sound waves split the artwork in two. Very Very clever. Do you remember those days of pawing over treasured vinyl artwork, deciphering hidden meanings? Aerial has it all. ' An Architect's Dream' and ' painter's Link' follows as the artwork progresses the theme of A Sky Of Honey. The artwork of Aerial unfolds as the the album progresses. Beautiful drumming again and spoken words by Rolf Harris.' Sunset' sets the mood that a climatic second half to disc 2 is about to commence. It ups the ante and some excellent spanish guitar work and bass dictate the song, blackbirds singing at dusk and references to songs of colour........... ' Aerial Tal' is next and has Kate mimicking the human voice as accurately as possible to the blacbird song. Sheer brilliance.Amusing too.' Somewhere In Between' is next and has great vocal harmonising with KB and Lol Creme. A laid back track and a fitting title and lead to the most important track and climatic rise on the entire album' Nocturn' is nostalgic, poignant and has all the ingredients of a conceptual epic song. Kate Bush delivers all that the journeys and paths of life take in one track, and disappear too in sandprints on the shoreline. Amazing stuff, she tires of the constant nagging 'conscious state' and questions the mystery of life. Musically richly textured, so sad and beautiful. A paradox for sure. The final song ' Aerial' makes you want to jump up and do a dervish dance. Insistent in demanding attention. There is a point where KB laughs hysterically and infectiously for about a minute. Nothing forced just sheers spiritual abandonment and the artist has completed the work of art and Aerial is laid to rest, blackbird sound waves and digeridoo ghostlike nuances drift in and out of a repetitive beat. Children laughing, gulls calling, musical splendour, Aerial is one of the finest albums to come out this decade. This review is not based on novelty either, I have had 2 weeks to digest this great album and strongly urge anyone out there listening, or reading to shift the paradigm and get out and buy it. True art is alive and well.

Chris S | 5/5 |

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