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LIONHEART

Kate Bush

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richardh
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After Kate's excellent debut the record company were keen (it looks) to get another release out as soon as possible. This appears to be a collection of songs that were not good enough for The Kick Inside so therefore what you get in essence is a slighly inferior verison of the first album.Everything here is fine and the diversity and scope of ideas fully intact.This is an ok-ish middling sort of album but nothing more.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#56787)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Chris S
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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I have to agree with a fellow reviewer, Lionheart is not as good as The Kick Inside and generally falls short in terms of overall delivery. There are gems on the album as in ' Oh England My Lionheart' and ' In Search Of Peter Pan' but I get the feeling there was something rushed about Lionheart which made it fall short in various departments. Some of the session players were from the Alan Parsons arena at the time when his output was waning. Maybe the gloss rubbed off here too. Please don't get me wrong this is not a bad album at all but simply put would be for collectors only.Stuart Elliot a regular to Kate Bush's albums is as usual flawless behind the drum kit.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#56793)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
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4 stars This is definitely one of the best records from Kate Bush: the main attraction is the omnipresent melodic piano and her highly pitched, sensual and emotive lead vocals. There are many OUTSTANDING backing vocals, as usual. Some good subdued electric guitars give a more rock dimension to the album. The bass is quite loud and not minimalist at all: it gives depth the the overall sound. Quite progressive, more than her first album, the songs are a little rhythm changing, each note is placed at the right place, and the ensemble is elaborated enough.

The tracks are delicate, graceful, magic, more mellow and fluid than usual, and rather relaxing, especially "In search of Peter Pan", "Wow", "Oh England my Lionheart" "In the warm room" and "Kashka from Bagdad". The sublime sequence "In search of Peter Pan"- "Wow" reminds me the inseparable block "Hotel hobbies"-"Warm wet circles"-"At that time of the night" on Marillion's "Clutching at Straws". Just listen to the beautiful horns & saloon piano arrangements on "Coffe homeground": it has a very European style!

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#57091)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Lionheart" was an effort which intended to present a continuity from her debut album "The Kick Inside". In fact, we can find lots of the musical elements which appeared in that record: a mainly symphonic nature, in most of the cases flavoured with subtle touchs of piano, Kate's personal and dramatic singing style, all of this surrounded with a kind of romantic atmosphere.

However, while "The Kick Inside" sounded like a genuine and authentic work, "Lionheart" sounds a bit more pretentious and relies maybe a little too much in the structure of its predeccesor. Not that this is a bad album at all, but it lacks the personality the previous one had, and it is a bit irregular one, having good moments mixed with other weaker ones.

The album starts well, with "Symphony in Blue", a song which could have appeared in the previous album with no problem. "In search of Peter Pan" is a fairy tale, performed in quite delicious way, focusing in the quality of vocals, either Kate's or the backing vocals as well as the children's choir. Probably one the best song of the album. "Wow" is another decent song, in which we find interesting passages of mellotron, certain atmospheric textures and again some symphonic touchs with flutes and the such. "Don't push your foot on the Heartbreak" tries to repeat the rhytmic nature of songs like "Rollin" or "James", with an only correct result. "Oh England my Lionheart" is the first true ballad of the record. Although it has good moments, specially with flutes again, it a bit weak song, that loses itself in its own indulgence. "Fullhouse" is another thing. Maybe another of the strong songs from the album, returning with the mixture of symphonic energy and Kate's commited singing, again with curious backing vocals. From here, the rest of the album goes to the weak side. "In the Warm Room", "Kashka from Baghdad" and "Hammer Horror" don't seem to be convincing. Probably the exception in this last part of the album is "Coffe Homeground", which is kind of a funny and entertaining song, that still doesn't lose the elegant style of Kate.

Then, for me, like a fellow reviewer mentioned, "Lionheart" was an attempt of going on with "The Kick Inside" artistical success instead of creating a new appropiate record. The result, a bit irregular, but still good. But not further than that.

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Send comments to shyman (BETA) | Report this review (#62945)
Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars OVERVIEW:

Because any excuse to listen to Kate Bush is a good one, "Lionheart" gets a rare spin on my turntable today.

This is a far more consistent effort than its predecessor - but while it has more or less eliminated the lows, the highs are nowhere near as great. The end result is a very slick and somewhat uniform sounding collection of songs, albeit exceptionally well crafted, on the whole, and straying further into Prog Rock territory than "The Kick Inside".

My main criticism of the album as a whole is that while there is a great deal of imaginative composition and superb execution both by Ms Bush and her army of session musicians, particularly in the verses, the choruses tend to spoil things in almost every song. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

ANALYSIS:

"Symphony in Blue" is a rather ostentatious title for what is a well-crafted and attractive song, with interesting lyrics, wonderful details in vocal harmonies and nice little changes. However, "attractive" is as good as it gets, which is a great pity for an opener.

"In Search of Peter Pan" starts promisingly, with continuation provided by a slick gloss to the production. Here we feel that Kate is telling us a story, which works well enough - and more importantly, the song structure is nicely blurred, giving a good flow and Prog feel to the piece. There appear to be flavours of "Wuthering Heights" in here, but it's in the vocal experimentation and spacey arrangements that the song shines.

"Wow" was a hit single, and stands out in the same way that "Man With the Child In His Eyes" did on "The Kick Inside". The entire verse structure is filled with possibility, until it comes together for the chorus lead-in. The chorus itself is a bit of a stadium singalong, and spoiled slightly by the blaring horns - but the verses are mini masterpieces of free-form song construction.

"Don't push your foot on the heartbrake" follows on well, but again loses credibility when the chorus kicks in; My own feeling is that is could have been done differently; more sensitively - but many would like the more Rocking feeling - there's no doubt that Kate's voice has the necessary power to carry it. As with "Wow", the verses feel free- form, and a perfect duet between Kate and piano.

It's starting to feel a bit familiar when "Oh England my lionheart" starts, but the recorder layers, sensitive strings and harpsichord provoke a singularly English atmosphere that blissfully continues without percussion, and with some nice choral arrangements. There are no real surprises in here, and the song progresses fairly predictably - but the quality of production and execution is so high that this is hardly an issue.

"Fullhouse" carries some sensual dischords and a distinctly jazzy flavour through the verse. The vocals in the lead-up to the chorus are really atmospheric and spooky, and, despite the "White Man Reggae" feel of the chorus, it actually seems to work in this context, and the song pans out to carry a Proggy flavour with an infectious and dreamy groove. The lead guitar particularly seems to converse with the singing in a satisfying way.

"In The Warm Room" has a very familiar feel to it, but manages to conjour a peculiarly Kate Bush style atmosphere - Kate is at her most exploratory around the keyboard in terms of chord progressions and key changes here, and has clearly settled into a style that she feels very comfortable with, as her voice darts and swoops above the piano almost independently, and never loses directional focus - but alays keeps it right on a knife edge.

"Kashka from Bagdad" has a different feel to the introduction - which is very welcome. This song feels far more in Prog Rock territory than those preceeding it, with a very unusual and sparse arrangement that has a nice, jazzy feel to it.

"Coffee Homeground" is an unusual song with an imaginative arrangement - it's not one of my favourites, largely due to the chorus, but it's certainly progressive, and the verses are very interesting in terms of both overall composition and arrangement.

Rounding things off is the other hit single "Hammer Horror". Yes, this was a single - even with the Rachmaninovian introduction and free-flowing verse - the "big" and somewhat over-orchestrated chorus is possibly a giveaway though. Maybe the Wagnerian feel was deliberate in order to convey a sense of the Hammer Horror films - but it doesn't really do it for me. The ending gong is a very nice touch!

SUMMARY:

A good purchase for anyone that enjoys the lighter side - while not quite an alternative to "The Kick Inside", as it contains no real equivalent of either "The Man..." or "Wuthering Heights", it is far more consistent and a more satisfying and enjoyable listen overall.

Not an essential to your Prog Rock collection by any means - but definitely a "Nice to have", and an all-round Non-disappointer.

Stand out tracks: "Oh England My Lionheart", "Wow", "In The Warm Room".

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#63982)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
axriso@law.uo
3 stars After the triumph of her debut album, Kate rushed nto the studio to release this record. I think her company must have forced her to release a second album very quickly, therefore 'Lionheart' is a little bit uneven. The first side of the vinyl is simply irresistable. 'Wow' remaiins a classic and the title track is one my favourites.

The second side of the album, on the other hand, is disappointing. The first four tracks don't add anything, and 'Hammet Horror', the album's last track, is, thank God, the brilliant exception: A track that's one of the best Kate's written. The quality of this track doesn't compensate us fully, but it's better than nothing.

If I had to come to a certain concllusion, that would be the following: 'Lionheart' is more than good but less than great. Those who love the 70s sound, try 'The Kick Inside'. That doesn't mean that 'Lionheart' is a lesser album, but if only there were more fine tracks on the second side of the album! -like the ones on the first side. Anyway, it's much better than 'The Dreaming' though!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#66356)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
tiffany_chars
4 stars I always wondered why Kate fans don't like Lionheart as much as her other earlier work. Sit down/lay down, whatever you want to do, and just listen to it thoroughly, it's brilliant. "Symphony In Blue" 4/5, "In Search Of Peter Pan" 4/5, "Wow" 5/5, "Don't Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake" 4.5/5, "Oh England My Lionheart" 4/5, "Full House" 4/5, "In The Warm Room" (my least liked song on the album) 3/5, "Kashka From Baghdad" 4.5/5, "Coffee Homeground" 4/5, and "Hammer Horror" (this song is a glimpse into Kate's future of "weird" on such albums as Never For Ever and The Dreaming) 5/5. For me, Lionheart aged better over time than the prevailing The Kick Inside. 4.2

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#66415)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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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.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#71713)
Posted Sunday, March 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Kate Bush’s second album is a purely commercial endeavor, a blatant attempt to capitalize on the popularity of her debut. Unlike the slow-cooked ‘The Kick Inside’, this album was put together quickly in a French studio as Bush pondered her newfound celebrity and prepared for her one and only extended tour, which began shortly after this album’s release.

In addition to the hurried recording, this album was further compromised by the liberal use of ‘product placement’, with Disney references and sound bites on “In Search of Peter Pan”; suspiciously convenient references to Hammer Horror Studios in “Hammer Horror” at a time when that studio was aggressively working to reestablish its reputation; and the wrapped-in-the-flag tear-jerker "Oh, England, My Lionheart" that even Ms. Bush herself decried as a mistake during the latter eighties. These were not like the compositions she brooded over for years that made it onto her first album. For the most part they appear to have been put together rather hurriedly, and for the most part lack the élan of those earlier works.

There are a few exceptions, most notably the loose and charming “Wow” and the lightly jazzy “Fullhouse”, but otherwise this is rather tepid stuff.

The opening “Symphony in Blue” is a pleasant enough composition, but the lyrics tell about seeing the world in blues and reds, and speak of how sex is good for blood circulation. I don’t get it.

“In Search of Peter Pan” plays like an abstract Disney movie trailer. I’m surprised Disney hasn’t snatched it up for an animated film somewhere along the line. Ms. Bush certainly has experience in this department, having contributed scores to ‘Brazil’, ‘The Magician of Lublin’, and other films.

“Wow” has a comfortable arrangement with predictable but still appealing choruses, and Ms. Bush showcases her incredible vocal range to great effect. This was the only single from the album I’m aware of.

“Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake” is a bit closer to her eighties albums, full of mildly dissonant chords and her unique ability to screech in tune. This is one of the more interesting tracks on the album.

I really can’t listen to “Oh England my Lionheart”. It just sounds so contrived and well- scripted that I have to wonder if this was also intended to be a pop single. This compliments the previous track in a sense, mostly by emphasizing that the former song is much better.

Ms. Bush seems to be sampling with various percussion and vocal techniques on “Fullhouse”, the kind she would employ more fully on later albums, but a bit more subdued here, although the lyrics here seem to be describing someone throwing a bit of a tantrum.

“In the Warm Room” is another of Ms. Bush’s mellow, introspective and piano-dominated tunes full of weird lyrics about a seductive woman who apparently both attracts and deceives her beau. Odd stuff.

As is “Kashka from Baghdad”, a sultry score that on closer examination is about an Arab guy who apparently is with another guy. In the Biblical sense. I’ll say one thing for Ms. Bush – she certainly is creative in her choices of topics for her songs.

I don’t have a clue what “Coffee Homeground” is supposed to be about, but it sounds like a couple of the cabaret-style tracks from her first album and inevitably gets me to humming old show tunes whenever I hear it.

Finally the album ends with “Hammer Horror”, a dramatic piano/organ score which ebbs and flows a bit, including at times some synthesized strings, sporadic heavy guitar, and more stage singing. Since this is a song about scary movies, the overly dramatic prose is probably not out-of-line, but there’s really not much about this song to distinguish it beyond Ms. Bush’s own voice.

This is a rather weak album, especially so if you have heard what Kate Bush is actually capable of. I would say it is probably her weakest studio album, and in fact wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have everything else by her, in which case you probably have this already anyway. So 2.4 stars, but her work would get better in the eighties after she takes a bit more control over her career.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#101521)
Posted Sunday, December 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I do think it's evident that Lionheart is inferior to The Kick Inside.There's nothing I can say to change that. But, if compared with works by other artists, all of whom I feel are inferior to Kate Bush, Lionheart stands out as a masterpiece. I would give this album 5 stars if it were one of my favorite albums by her. But since I've heard her do better......

Just in case the gravity of the sentence above slipped by, let me EMPHASIZE. I BELIEVE KATE BUSH IS THE GREATEST MUSICAL ARTIST OF OUR TIME!!! If my opinion were more important that would be high praise, but since this small girl from Welling, Kent was able to reach across the Atlantic, the Appalachian Mountains, and into the heartland of rural Kentucky to fire my imagination and sensory awakening in a way that still amazes me twenty years later, I figure she must be pretty good.

Though her music may not strictly meet the definition of progressive, I feel she is the ultimate progressive music artist as well. She took music some where it had never been: a place I can only call The Land of Kate, for I don't know how else to describe it. Her arrangements are unique, but those early chord progressions even stunned her studio musicians. No one could have listened to The Kick Inside or Lionheart for the first time and have any idea where it was going next. And she did it by following her muse, not by contriving a clever musical bridge that ends up sounding contrived. Kate's music is a life force in and of itself.

Ah yes, Lionheart. I'll just highlight my favorite moments.

First, I love In Search of Peter Pan and the sentiment it portrays. And the ending tag of When You Wish Upon A Star segued into Wow with a beautiful string arrangement is breathtaking. I once heard this song suddenly coming from a driving video game my grandchildren were playing, Wow that is, and my heart leapt. It was like a young love had reappeared. Wow also has a combination of wisdom and naivete that I find intriguing. On the one hand she's singing Wowowowowow!!!! Unbelievable!!!....then she's singing about an actor who'd be better if he'd pay more attention to his craft, "but he's too busy hitting the vaseline." Whoa!! Where did that come from?

Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake is actually my favorite song on the album. I like songs with pretty keyboard work, that then drive into another gear. And this is the highest gear she would hit so far in her early career, as she lets it all fly on vocals.

Some might think Oh England, My Lionheart is sappy. I think it's poetry. Beautiful tone, beautiful imagery....it makes you proud to be from England, even if you're an American!

The second side of the LP was slightly less impressive than the first side. The best songs on the remainder are Fullhouse and Hammer Horror. But the other three songs-- Kashka From Baghdad, In the Warm Room, and Coffee Homeground---are some of her most peculiar musical stylings and really keep you on your toes with a plethora of literary and cultural allusions, as well as thinly disguised sexual innuendo.

I believe she wrote most of these songs after the first album was recorded, but I wouldn't swear to it. There may have been a few that were still too rough at the time The Kick Inside was recorded, but I don't think they had rounded into their final form yet. (There is a web site called Paradise Place that has links to her early demos if you would like to hear them.)

I listen to the stuff this teenage girl churned out in a short period of time, on the heels of a major debut album which she'd had her whole previous life to write songs for, and I find it to be an amazing effort. Because it didn't have the shock impact of her first album, and was recorded just before a period of amitious experimentation, Lionheart tends to be forgotten. But if you can remember to listen to it, it will give you part 2 of a One-of-a-kind experience which is the young, free-wheeling, pre-studio marm Kate Bush. And it's delightful!

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Send comments to orange man (BETA) | Report this review (#114738)
Posted Friday, March 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars Kate Bush's second album Lionheart was made in very unfavourable circumstances: EMI had given only a short time to finish it, and 20-year old Kate had been taken for a rollercoaster ride of celebrity perhaps too soon (I believe her reluctance for publicity is rooted in that headspinning 1st year as a pop star). Most songs date before the debut release, and one could say they were more or less 'leftovers'. That all said, it is surprising how Lionheart still manages to have a mature character different from the Kick Inside, and sound as good as it sounds. She really showed strength with this challenge, though naturally it doesn't have a chance of being among her best works.

The whole album has a romantic and nostalgic feeling that was inspired by the world of theatre, cinema and old musicals. 'Wow' deals with actors, child-focused 'In Search of Peter Pan' is a very theatre-like song which cites 'When You Wish Upon a Star', 'Coffee Homeground' is a comically paranoic story with a circus and musical flavour and 'Hammer Horror' refers, as you guess, to the notorious film company. Apart from the naiively fantastic 'Wow', these mentioned song are not my favourites on the album. I like the overall feeling of Lionheart: relaxed, sensual and intimate.

This is also the most openly sexual KB album. Charming opener 'Symphony in Blue' has the line "the more I think about sex the better it gets". 'In the Warm Room' was written for men's sex dreams of a beautiful girl ready for love making. It's like even more intimate twin to 'Feel It' in the debut. 'Kashka From Baghdad', musically perhaps the finest track, tells about homosexuals hiding in their house: "they know the way to be happy".

'Oh England My Lionheart' collects all the cliches of English nostalgia and Kate said afterwards she felt regret for its inclusion, but it is like the heart of the album, and due to the medieval-like instrumentation it doesn't quite cross the line of being TOO sweet. 'Fullhouse' has an over-repeated half-rocking chorus but is otherwise a very fine moody song about inner struggles.

With only ten songs of standard legth the album is shortish, and some songs are perhaps a bit half baked (too many choruses for example). If it had been given more time, it would stand proud in her discography. As a cruelly deadlined successor to a sensational debut it is very gratifying.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#116353)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "She's waiting in that warm room..."

Ahh, Kate. I agree with my fellow reviewers that the magic of Kick Inside was not as prevelent here on Lionheart. Nevertheless...

Things start out fabulously with "Symphony in Blue" which is the best track on the album. Other good tracks include Peter Pan, Fullhouse, Lionheart, Hammer Horror, but some of the others are just not of the level of her previous work. Though as another reviewer pointed out, even the slightly less-great Kate Bush is better than many of her contemporaries. This album has the same warm, plush rug in front of a crackling fire 70s sound that many of us miss. Try to get one of the newer remasters for the best sound on the first two or three albums.

Don't get me wrong. Lionheart is great, and though Dreaming and Hounds are perhaps more mature musical works, the first two Kate albums are dearest to my heart because of their innocent optimism, their passion, and their freshness which comes from the power of Kate's youth and youth in general. Hounds is better critically speaking, but were I leaving for the desert island tomorrow and could take only 2 Kate discs, I'd probably take the first 2. The first two have a very special intimacy between Kate and the listener that would gradually decrease over time as her work became more complex. So I guess for me it means that better isn't always preferable! Strange, eh?

Kate Bush is a genius who has not been given proper credit for her substantial artistic contributions to prog, pop, video, or dance. Hopefully that will change over time.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#119384)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The more I think about sex, the better It gets. Good for the blood circulation, good for releasing the tension.

Kate Bush second album Lionheart was released under a year after her debut The Kick Inside yet it is a very inspired effort from the sensual lady. I say sensual with respect because this is one of the things I associate with Kate Bush, and I´m sure this is what she intended with lyrics like the above mentioned quote from Symphony in Blue. Well, that aside Kate Bush is one of the few female artists I know of that can really excite me with her art. I don´t mean to be chauvenistic here, but it just seems I like music written by men better compared to music written by females. Kate Bush is an exception though as she proves here for the second time that she has something unique to offer.

Lionheart only has 10 songs compared to The Kick Inside which had 13 songs. I think this is an important thing to notice as there were a few not so interesting tracks on The Kick Inside. On Lionheart Kate Bush has taken all the good things from her debut and made them just a notch better. The overall feel after listening to Lionheart is that of a full and thought through album where with The Kick Inside it felt like 13 songs put together to make an album. The Kick Inside is still an excellent album, but I just want to emphazise the difference.

The music is mostly piano driven, but there are also bass, guitar and drums as the standard instrumentation. There are added lots of flavour with the use of keyboard, mandolin, panpipes, mandocello and hammond though. It´s notable that the hammond organ is played by Francis Monkman of Curved Air. Curved Air and especially Renaissance are also a few of the bands I would compare Kate Bush to even though she has a very different approach and sound. The album starts with Symphony in Blue which is a beatiful song. It´s one of my favorite Kate Bush songs. It´s one of those songs from her discography that sends chills down my spine whenever I listen to it. Kate Bush singing in that particular song is very strong and unique. In search of Peter Pan continues with an equally strong melody line and vocal performance. Oh England my lionheart and Hammer Horror needs to be mentioned here too as the first one is a very emotional patriotic song and the latter is an ode to the Hammer Horror movies of the seventies ( does anyone remember Blackula or The daughter of Dracula ?). The rest of the songs are also very memorable and there are no fillers here.

The musicians are all great and of course Kate Bush is the greatest of them all. In addition to being an outstanding pianist she is also a very unique singer. If you have never heard Kate sing you´ll have to get one of her albums ( preferably the three first) to experience something strong and unique. She has the power to put deep emotions into every word she sings.

The production is very similar to that on The Kick Inside but it´s a bit better. The production is very good indeed. Nice and soft seventies sounding.

With Lionheart Kate Bush does exactly what people wanted of her, she made beautiful pop music on the edge of progressive rock with her unique voice in center. This would continue on the next album too, but then the experimetation would start for better or worse. Lionheart is a very beautiful album though and I think it sees Kate Bush on the hight of her stardom. She peaked early IMO. Lionheart deserves 4 stars for being an excellent pop album with progressive tendencies. Highly recommendable.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#166599)
Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I've always had this personal theory: Lionheart is made by The Kick Inside's outtakes... But this is a good collections of leftovers anyway!

Kate Bush spent three years in writing and recording The Kick Inside (due to she was still on school at that time...) And I think she used the best work made among this years to her first album, with the best singles and the most commercial melodies, and the rest was put into this second release.

Lionhear was recorded very close after The Kick Inside was released, in 1978, and the style is very similar to its predecesor (it's logical...), but the general quality of the songs is a bit under the Kate's debut. There are no bad tracks here... But only a few are really excellent. The songs are maybe not so slow as in The Kick Inside were, but so full in details as in this great album. The music is not strictly progressive or symphonic... But the richness, originality and creativity of this wonderful singer make Lionheart deserving a good place in this site, like almost all of her albums.

The musicians are almost the same as in The Kick Inside... I specially appreciate the bass playing, and some guitar melodies (courtesy by the genious Ian Bairnson...) The pianos and keyboards are also really prominent. The song structure is based in keys more than in guitars or percussion... Except some rockier tracks like Hammer Horror or Don't Push your foot on the Heartbrake.

Best songs: Symphony in Blue (great verses and piano playing...), Wow (the best track of the album, and the most famous one... Wonderful Kate's singing here), Oh England My Lionheart (I really love the chorus...) and Hammer Horror (after classic horror film's introduction comes a catchy and funny song... A good ending).

Conclusion: far from being the best Kate Bush's release, and really similar to the previous The Kick Inside, Lionheart is still a good album, and every Kate's fan will love it... Like I do. But I must say that I miss more originality (wich would come later in Never Forever), because having heard The Kick Inside, there are almost no surprises in Lionheart. Very good, but not essential.

My rating:***1/2

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#171264)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars "Lionheart" is Kate Bush's sophomore, but not sophomoric album. The songs, in general, are a bit lighter than those on "The Kick Inside", but there is still enough substance for this prog fan. In particular, "Don't Put Your Foot On The Heartbrake", a nice mid-tempo rocker, has some of the sexy screams Ms. Bush used well on her next few albums, as well as a hint of some of the darkness that was to come later as well. "In The Warm Room", a come hither sexy song, is a favorite when I'm lonely. And "Kashka From Baghdad" and "Coffee Homeground" are also harbingers of the use of sound effects and non-traditional musical styles Bush would explore on the next few albums.

Not great, but nod bad either.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#220196)
Posted Sunday, June 07, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Released in 1978, only nine months apart from her charming and endearing debut, Lionheart is often considered to be one of Kate Bush's weaker albums. I beg to differ as I find it to be a wonderful exercise in romantic and somewhat bizarre imagery. This is vintage Kate Bush. I'll admit that it's slightly less inspiring than the debut album, but it is still very very good.

Her voice on the album is as wonderful as always. And so is the musicianship, she has always had great musicians on her albums. Her lyrics are on par with the debut. In fact, I think that she has always excelled in the lyrical department of things. It is only the compositional part where her albums differ. Lionheart is full of great tunes like Symphony In Blue, Wow or Don't Push Your Foot On the Heartbrake. But it also has its share of weaker tracks like In the Warm Room or Coffee Homeground. Still, there are no bad or even just ok songs on Lionheart but they are all very pleasant to listen to, and some are even KB classics. The flow of the album is quite natural, and the songs segue into each other very well. All in all, an album where all the songs complement each other quite nicely.

In my opinion Lionheart is an underrated album, 4 stars.

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Send comments to nikow (BETA) | Report this review (#231049)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Kate's second album is almost as impressive as the debut. After all, she had penned all or most of the songs from the two first albums before she was even 16.

I've read she isn't entirely pleased with this album though. Listening to it, this can hardly be because of the quality of the material. In fact, it might have more to do with her frustration at being pushed to release a second album so soon after the first. Kate Bush is a perfectionist and I think she wanted to take a few steps beyond the treaded paths of the debut, which obviously wasn't possible in the rushed recordings of this second release in one year.

None of the songs here would be out of the place on the debut. Both in quality and in execution this album reaches similar heights of magical beauty and passion, only the element of surprise is missing really. 3.5 stars

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#257138)
Posted Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars For the first and only time in her career; Kate Bush relinquished the control of her career to the record company's quest for more commercial success on the back of the very successful debut album. The result of rushing out Lionheart is an album of underdeveloped songs.

Despite of this album being underdeveloped and the songs not particular good, this is still a good album. There are several good songs here. Wow is one of them. The two epic songs In search of Peter Pan and Oh England My Lionheart is the best songs here. The latter one is the best song of this album. It is an understated song with piano and her voice as the leading elements in this superb song. The rest of this album contains some rather anonyme songs. The closing song Hammer Horror is a commercially driven song and a pretty dire one too.

Yes, this is a major step back from the excellent debut album. It is a two star album with only three good songs in it. This album is what you get when the record company takes over Kate Bush and send her down the wrong path. Kate Bush is at her best when she run her career herself. This album proves this point.

2.5 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#259879)
Posted Friday, January 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I really like this album. I listened to this a lot before I'd heard any of the others. While it's often considered to be a weaker effort of Bush's, I've always found it perfect to relax to. The songs are quite slow and romantic.

I am very fond of Kate's early style and reckon that "Lionheat" has some of my favourite songs of that period, such as the dreamy fairy-tale like "In Search Of Peter Pan". It's also somehow slightly dark and eerie, which I find appealing. "Wow" is another favourite moment and was the only hit from the album. The piano leads most of the songs and the other arrangements are often very subtle in the background setting a laid back atmosphere.

Kate's voice is more delicate here than on her debut which was released earlier the same year. Other highlights are the lovely "Oh, England, My Lionheart" which has some very interesting lyrics. "In The Warm Room" is also good. The other songs are fairly average but still quite enjoyable. "Lionheart" would be a good edition to your music collection. 3 stars.

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#384550)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A honing and refinement of the approach from The Kick Inside, Lionheart might not have any standout songs of the standard of Wuthering Heights (though Wow does get close), but taken over all the tracks the quality is consistently high. Bush's vocals are, as always, a wonder to behold, and the sort of material tackled - ranging from the pleasures of cheesy horror movies to the last thoughts going through a fighter pilot's mind as his plane crashes and burns - sets the stage for the ambitious thematic content of future albums. A sorely underrated effort, which may have been rushed but certainly isn't sub-par.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#559490)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#808473)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to rogerthat (BETA) | Report this review (#974489)
Posted Sunday, June 09, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think the problem with this album is that it sounds too much like the debut. To me it sounds like KATE BUSH took all the songs from her first album THE KICK INSIDE and reassembled them into new creations. Apparently this doesn't hold well with most as told by the lower ratings and I have to agree that I prefer the debut as well, but not by much. Those songs may be a tad catchier but this is a great album itself. I love most of these songs and even though I can tell which song sounds like certain ones from the debut, it doesn't really matter. I'm not against using a successful musical formula and getting a little mileage out of it.

With songs as good as these she probably could have gotten another few albums out of this sound and considering Kate was only 19 at the time of both these albums being released I think I can cut her a little slack. This music is every bit as ingenious as the debut and not just simply rushed out shlop to cash in. Just listen to the arrangements. Geez, they're brilliant! Like I said, I do prefer the debut because many of those songs are off the charts spectacular and it was the first album I heard. This doesn't have the surprise value of the debut but it sure comes close to the quality overall.

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1090666)
Posted Sunday, December 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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