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Kate Bush - Lionheart CD (album) cover


Kate Bush


Crossover Prog

3.34 | 250 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album gets a lot of flak as it was apparently a rushed effort and consisted of leftover tracks from all of those that Kate Bush wrote for her first album. Even Kate is not exactly proud of this effort. But that doesn't really matter to me because her work defies easy categorization and appeals at many levels. Perhaps even a rushed effort is worth the chase when said effort is by Kate Bush.

The opener Symphony in Blue alone makes it worth the price of admission for me. While I find the lyrics only partly make sense to me, the music makes a more direct and immediate impact. Much is said about Kate's piano work but the guitar arrangements on her tracks is often wonderful too. On Symphony in Blue, the guitarwork is positively awesome; at least I think so anyway. No dazzling leads, nothing overtly complex but full of tension while still evoking beauty. Which is an apt description of the track: it sounds gorgeous on the surface but there is also a note of tension throughout the track. Good for releasing the tension, as she says.

The way Kate explores tension as such is very intriguing. Reviews refer to her feminine approach to the piano but one must remember that she was in fact influenced more by what she referred to as 'male music'. Most often, her music rocks hard even without a lot of distorted electric guitar while the feminine touch is reflected more in the colourful array of sounds and dreamy atmosphere she uses. But it is a counterpoint and contrast to tension and is not necessarily intended as chillout music.

Certainly, a track like Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake is a far cry from chillout music. It rocks hard while still retaining her essentially weird art-rock based approach. If The Kick Inside hinted at a then new approach to prog, Lionheart builds on it and solidifies this approach. The chords and vocal approach as also the dominance of keyboards establish the music's connection to prog. But it is prog that is cognizant of punk and new wave (cue the white man's reggae chorus of Full House), not living in denial of it. And abstraction is present more in the lyrics than the music which tends to be pretty direct and hard hitting.

If this album was made up of leftover tracks from work intended for Kick Inside, Kate must have been on a creative hot streak at that time. For brilliance simply abounds on this album and even less satisfactory choices like the chorus of Wow! Wow! Wow! don't seem to hurt so much because of the overall stellar quality of the music. When a musician explores interesting harmonic ideas, it feels churlish to nitpick the less appealing parts of the package. However, not all of her work here is fully realized and two tracks - Oh England My Lionheart and Hammer Horror - haven't clicked for me in spite of having listened plenty of times to this album. I also find the theatrical singing on Coffee Homeground a bit awkward as Kate shifts registers at will. But I will let it pass because the idea is executed well, even if it doesn't work so well for me.

So don't put your foot on the brake pedal; this is still an excellent album though it may have been a rushed affair. There are plenty of goodies on offer if you are a bit lenient...and why not when the artist in question is one as brilliant as Kate Bush. 4 stars.

rogerthat | 4/5 |


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