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Kate Bush - Lionheart CD (album) cover


Kate Bush


Crossover Prog

3.36 | 200 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Wow??

Kate Bush is undoubtedly a talented composer and performer. Virtually all of her music is self written, but she differentiates herself from other singer/ songwriters by bringing in highly accomplished musicians to embellish her works. From this point of view, her albums should perhaps be seen as being by a band called "Kate Bush" rather than a solo performer.

That said, I cannot help but perceive "Lionheart", and indeed many of her other albums, as sophisticated pop comparable with the likes of 10CC, with little which might be deemed to be true progressive rock. "Lionheart" is a 10 track album. Now I may be a little cynical, but as soon as I see an LP with 10 tracks, five on each side, I immediately assume I am going to be presented with tracks of an approximately equal length, with simplistic structures and little in the way of development. In the case of "Lionheart", that assumption is largely correct, although I acknowledge that the structures here are slightly more complex.

Most people will be aware of Bush's distinctive style of vocals, These can be quite stunning on tracks such as "Wow", a song which has a much more sensitive story to it than a superficial listen will at first reveal. Those vocals are however very much an acquired taste. On "Lionheart" they dominate the album to the extent that at times I found them tedious and grating. More relief in the form of instrumental passages would have gone a long way to improving the album when heard as a complete piece.

There is a diversity of styles throughout "Lionheart", but each track concentrates on a single style and melody, with perhaps the odd pace change incorporated as a token nod in a prog direction.

For me, Bush is at her best when composing and performing slower tracks and ballads. Her faster, upbeat songs are just too twee to be of any substance. "Coffee homeground" for example finds her sounding like a helium fuelled Bryan Ferry singing in a circus. The appallingly corny titled "Don't push your foot on the heartbreak" sounds like a Supertramp cover, and "Hammer Horror" is disjointed and unappealing.

On the more positive side, the delicate "In search of Peter Pan" is pleasant if simple, and the aforementioned "Wow" is superb. I'm afraid that's as good as it gets though. "In a warm room" is fragile but dull, and "Kashka from Baghdad" has some annoying screeching vocals spoiling a stage show style number.

In terms of the line up, there are plenty of competent musicians here, including members of the Alan Parsons Project, Francis Monkman of Sky and Curved Air, and the multi-talented Duncan Mackay. They all play a strictly supporting role though, any real exploitation of their abilities being avoided.

In short, an album best heard in small doses, with the skip button kept handy for occasional use.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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