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Kate Bush - 50 Words For Snow CD (album) cover


Kate Bush


Crossover Prog

3.79 | 167 ratings

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5 stars Kate Bush is on a roll. 50 Words For Snow is the second album to be released by her in 2011, though Director's Cut was reworking's of old songs so in reality it's her first album of new material since 2005's Aerial. Anyone like myself who found that album so captivating is likely to have similar feelings about this one too.

50 Words For Snow whilst not exactly what you'd call a concept album does have a theme running through it and not surprisingly that theme is snow. From a simple snowflake to building snowmen to lovers meeting and being separated across time as on Snowed In At Wheeler Street there's a wintry theme throughout. The albums largely restrained and mellow vibe has a similar feel to much of Aerial which itself had plenty of quiet moments. Here it's even more so, the album content to be dominated by sparse jazzy piano and lightly played drums much of the time played by the incredible Steve Gadd no less. It's not until later in the album when anything approaching upbeat actually happens. This however works in its favour making it a wonderful late night chilling out in front of the fire, obligatory malt whisky in hand sort of album. Many of the seven tracks are around the ten minute mark with Misty even being over thirteen minutes. Contrary to what you may think in view of the often sparse arrangements this actually works very well giving each piece chance to breathe and slowly grow and is totally compelling. There's also the very occasional use of electronica as on Snowed In At Wheeler Street though done in a subtle way that doesn't destroy the overall vibe.

Bush makes considerable use of contributions from other vocalists including Elton John, Andy Fairweather Low and even her son Bertie. Fortunately they on the whole add rather than detract to Bush's ethereal tones and not allowed to dominate too much with Fairweather Low's high register being particularly complimentary. Perhaps most notable is the contribution from Stephen Fry whose authorative spoken word vocal lists 50 words for snow on the title track; a perfect choice. Best of all Gadd drives it along beautifully with a stunning shuffle rhythm making it a rare up tempo moment.

No doubt many will still prefer Bush's earlier works but the proofs here that she can be just as vital and inventive now as in the past. She's one of a kind and it's difficult to find fault with this wonderful album. I could live without the Baritone vocals that accompany her on Lake Tahoe, but that's merely personal preference rather than picking fault. Quite simply 50 Word's For Snow deserves 5 stars.

Nightfly | 5/5 |


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