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Kate Bush - Lionheart CD (album) cover

LIONHEART

Kate Bush

 

Prog Related

3.31 | 155 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Hammer Horror, Wow... and a bunch of other tracks.

Kate Bush's follow up to her quality debut always seems to be swept under the carpet in favour of her singles chart success and her famous classics such as "Hounds of Love" and "The Dreaming". However, Lionheart" still has some worthy songs to seek out. As with all of Kate's earlier releases, her voice is ultra high soprano and very theatrical, and this is something that will either draw in a listener of turn them off. There is no disputing the uniqueness of the vocals and this feels like art rock more than prog.

It begins with a poppy sound and pounding rhythms in 'Symphony in blue', and builds to a more creative track 'In search of Peter Pan' that has a peculiar time sig and dramatic vox. 'Wow' is one of the singles that I was not all that impressed with watching it on her DVD, but it sounds great on this album among the other tracks. It is quite a quirky song for the charts but somehow reached number 14 in the UK top 20. The album reached number 6 in the UK charts because of songs such as this. It really struck a chord with the late 70s music industry. Kate was so original and compelling that people could not resist her wild compositions.

Some of the songs here do nothing for me at all such as 'Don't push your foot on the heartbrake', and occasionally 'Oh England my Lionheart' has some dull moments, though I don't mind the Medieval Elizabethan music style. The inconsistency of the album is the problem here. Midway through the rock disappears and we have a quiet reflective Kate. 'Fullhouse' is a piano-driven song with weird time sig, Kate's vox are all over the place, and it builds to a strange rock melody. 'In the warm room' is another piano and vocal ballad, with some beautiful melodies and a rather ethereal quality. 'Kashka from Bagdad' has more piano, and builds with bass and percussion, but this is the third quiet mood piece in a row. Thankfully it does have a stronger section in the chorus, but this is a very dreamy album bookended by heavy rock. 'Coffee Homeground' is the final straw for me, a detestable piece of rollicking cabaret fluff, where Kate tries too hard to be quirky, but it sounds like an awful drunken theatrical show tune.

'Hammer Horror' is the towering huge hit from the album that rocketed up the charts to number 17 in Australia, but dwindled at 44 in the UK, perhaps they just didn't appreciate the quirkiness of it. It was an affectionate tribute to Hammer Horror Films, of which I am a fan, and the story concerns the Hunchback of Notre Dame actor who becomes haunted by the original actor. The single was blessed with a rather powerful film clip that was often played on Australian TV show "Countdown" and that would have helped boost its success. I remember this Aus rock show had a fondness for Kate's clips, 'Wuthering Heights' was played to death showing her extreme agile balletic romp in the forest, 'Hammer Horror' had the odd ballet in the dark, and 'Babooshka' was the goddess, Kate at her sexiest in Amazon Warrior attire, strangling cellos, and wielding a mighty sword in a glowing light. These images are indelible to the Australian conscious when it comes to Kate Bush.

The album did not make an impact but the singles and film clips were unforgettable. This album has some striking moments but a lot of mediocre songs tarnish the final product. I still love 'Hammer Horror' but I would prefer to hear this song on a compilation with other treasures that have to wade through this album to hear it. 3 stars for the innovative moments and for Kate's amazing vocal style, but the best was yet to come.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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