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Kate Bush

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Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Aerial arrived not a moment too soon...or late depending on how you view it.It is made up to 2 CD's. Disc one being ' A Sea Of Honey' and Disc 2 ' A Sky Of Honey'. Without question as good as the acclaimed Hounds Of Love album from the mid eighties especially the conceptual ' A Sky Of Honey'. A Sea Of Honey starts with the first single off the album called ' King Of The Mountain'. Great driving rythm and pointed lyrics about Elvis Presley, questioning his death or rumours of media hype on his possible self enforced exile. It is a great song and should do well with the charts even if it is so far removed from all the commercial junk that normally charts these days.A good song all round and a fitting introduction to the album. It is also worth pointing out the title of the album being Aerial, meaning unsubstantial or imaginary or , suggestive of air, as in lightness. As the album progresses you begin to understand what this means. She is pointing at a ' space' between dimensions, shifting paradigms. Make any sense? I hope so.' Pi' is the next track and has some great keyboard layers and accoustic guitar whilst KB sings resolutely about the infinity of numbers as in Pi. Great concept for a song and she sure knows her formulae. Her vocalization on ' Pi ' is incredible and the timing of chorus intro works to perfection.' Bertie' follows which is a simple song of affirmation of her love for her ' sun' or son.' Mrs Bartolozzi' continues and is an amusing analogy of relationships and laundry and washing machines! Absurd lyrics maybe but musically a great track and one of the strongest off A Sea Of Honey. The piano work from KB is great and the song just damn eccentric and hauntingly hypnotic. Next up we have a return to the references of the need to disappear from the scrutiny of the public on ' How To Be Invisible'. Excellent guitar riffs created by the wizardry of Dan McIntosh. Kate starts beginning to really stretch her voice now and the album begins to heat up. KB is known for being quite a recluse and this song explains how important ' disappearing' is for her. The problem is she needs to go through labyrinths and mazes to find it. Irony for sure with lyrics like " Eyes of braille,' stems of wallflowers to.. storms in swimming pools and a pinch of keyholes" Who needs drugs just read Kate Bush's lyrics on Aerial. The next song is ' Joanni' and has some gabrielesque percussion feel. Not sure who she is referring to in a warlike situation. It reminds me a lot of Roger Waters and '' Yellow Rose' on his Amused To death album, a tribute to a chinese girl killed in Tianeman Square by troops live on television. A tribute song anyways, musically not bad. ' Coral Room' closes disc one with some more beautiful piano work and singing by Michael Wood. A haunting song and sombre too. Vulnerable and KB bares her innermost frailties.

A Sky Of Honey ( disc 2 ) I cannot recommend highly enough. To all those lovers of conceptual albums then don't let this one slip away. Blackbird birsong sets the theme on ' Prelude' and little Bertie referencing paradigm shifts again about birds making words.' Prologue' has a great sense of space and the keyboard timings mixed with KB's piano and voice make for one of the highlights of the album. It kind of gets in a rut for about six minutes and rambles but it's lack of purpose is what makes it appealing. You almost think it will break into something bigger at any time but the restraint works a treat. John Giblin's bass work ( of Simple Minds fame ) is exceptional throughout the album. Seagull sounds hint at nostalgia and return the Sea/Sky theme. The cover artwork is in fact Sea and Sky of Honey, almost like a mirror image. If anyone know Tangerine Dream's Stratosfear album artwork will know what I mean. The blackbird sound waves split the artwork in two. Very Very clever. Do you remember those days of pawing over treasured vinyl artwork, deciphering hidden meanings? Aerial has it all. ' An Architect's Dream' and ' painter's Link' follows as the artwork progresses the theme of A Sky Of Honey. The artwork of Aerial unfolds as the the album progresses. Beautiful drumming again and spoken words by Rolf Harris.' Sunset' sets the mood that a climatic second half to disc 2 is about to commence. It ups the ante and some excellent spanish guitar work and bass dictate the song, blackbirds singing at dusk and references to songs of colour........... ' Aerial Tal' is next and has Kate mimicking the human voice as accurately as possible to the blacbird song. Sheer brilliance.Amusing too.' Somewhere In Between' is next and has great vocal harmonising with KB and Lol Creme. A laid back track and a fitting title and lead to the most important track and climatic rise on the entire album' Nocturn' is nostalgic, poignant and has all the ingredients of a conceptual epic song. Kate Bush delivers all that the journeys and paths of life take in one track, and disappear too in sandprints on the shoreline. Amazing stuff, she tires of the constant nagging 'conscious state' and questions the mystery of life. Musically richly textured, so sad and beautiful. A paradox for sure. The final song ' Aerial' makes you want to jump up and do a dervish dance. Insistent in demanding attention. There is a point where KB laughs hysterically and infectiously for about a minute. Nothing forced just sheers spiritual abandonment and the artist has completed the work of art and Aerial is laid to rest, blackbird sound waves and digeridoo ghostlike nuances drift in and out of a repetitive beat. Children laughing, gulls calling, musical splendour, Aerial is one of the finest albums to come out this decade. This review is not based on novelty either, I have had 2 weeks to digest this great album and strongly urge anyone out there listening, or reading to shift the paradigm and get out and buy it. True art is alive and well.

Report this review (#56617)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 12 years since "The Red Shoes" - is it worth the wait? Well, I have to say "Yes". Not many artists could take a career break for that long and still come back with a brilliant album like this - and get the album and single back in the charts.

As most of you know, this is a double CD with CD 1 being a normal song collection and CD 2 being another "concept" similiar to The Ninth Wave. CD 1 kicks off with the single "King of the mountains", about sightings of Elvis and the mysterious "Rosebud" from "Citizen Kane". A great comeback single, I love the drumming on this.

"pi" is about a man with a strange fascination for 22/7. Only Kate could sing a song with a chorus consisting of a string of numbers and get away with it. Some insistent keyboards and a nice jazzy chorus.

"Bertie" is obviously a song for Kate's son. It has a nice folky feel to it, slightly cringe-inducing in a "my kid is better than all your" sort of way, but still a good song.

"Mrs Bartolozzi" is the washing machine song with the "slooshy sloshy" section. This is the weakest track here for me.

"How to be invisible" and "Joanni" are standard Kate songs which could have come from "Sensual World". "Joanni" is presumably about Joan of Arc(?)

"A Coral Room" is about Kate's mother and is one of the solo piano numbers that Kate does so brilliantly. This is a really beautiful, hairs on the back of the neck song.

CD 2 "A Sky of honey" is the concept CD. I can't really comment on what it's all about, save to say it's linked by bird song and painting. It starts off gently with the first three numbers, until Rolf Harris joins in on "The Painter's Link". "Sunset" follows and for me this is the highlight. A jazzy number turns into a fast Spanish flamenco number, with a great chorus featuring Kate backed by Gary Brooker (I think). "Somewhere in between" is a slower number with another good chorus.

"Nocturn" has a slight disco feel to it - a good song but a bit too long. "Aerial" is the final track and has a definite disco beat. There is an interlude featuring bird song along with Kate's hysterical laughter.

Overall, the second CD is better than the first and, once you've heard it a few times you get hooked into it. Overall I'm giving this 4 stars as it ranks alongside "The Dreaming" as Kate's second best work after Hounds Of Love.

Oh, and it has a great cover too.

Report this review (#56942)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It has been 12 long (very long) years since her last album (Red Shoes) , which wasn't as good as the previous one (Sensual World). If you wonder how can an album require so much time in the making, you'll understand why when you dig your teeth into this one. What can I say except absolute brilliance and sheer beauty from the first second to the last one. I won't go in detail describing the songs (someone below just did it brilliantly) but you do have to allow yourself time to accomodate yourself to it and appreciate it for what it is, as oppposed to what you thought it should be. Yes it is comprised of two "sides" one side containing individual songs (Sea Of Honey) , all of them delicious and strong (except maybe How To Be Invisible), and to answer fellow reviewer Chris Stacey, I think Joannie refers to Joan Of Arc. The second side is a concept suite called Sky Of Honey, and here, unlike The Ninth Wave on Hounds Of Love which has soft as well as diabolically agressive moments, the whole suite is kept to a relatively constant mood, which is very pastoral and plays a lot on "soundscapes". It is meant to be a journey through nature from the afternoon through to sunset, night and finally dusk with Kate being the observer (or the painter maybe); each period of time presented in richly coloured and almost , yes, honey-like musical ideas. The whole thing is a celebration of nature in wonder and amazement, and the mood is transmitted to the listener with wonderful skill. You should listen to this side with the lights off, at high volume, with your eyes closed; and let yourself be transported to a magical journey. It is like a hot baked cake that smells like sugar, or for that matter, honey. Masterpiece!
Report this review (#58004)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars By the time Kate released The Sensual World, it was clear that she was moving away from the the dreamy, playful, hyper-feminine textures that dominated her early works, as she moved toward a more electronic form of mundane pop music. Also gone was the beautiful 4-octave coloratura soprano voice which was already starting to show signs of wear duing her masterpiece, Hounds of Love. But even the Sensual World had a flicker of what remained of Kate's delicate essence. The followup, The Red Shoes, on the other hand, was a disaster, both musically, and lyrically. For this reason, I was skeptical of adding the new effort, Aerial to my vast collection of Kate Bush works. I was pleasantly surprised. While the electronic sounds still dominate (especially on the 2nd disc), Kate deserves a lot of credit for Aerial. This album has a pleasant sound, like the Sensual World, and is mch more enjoyable than the Red Shoes.
Report this review (#58492)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very nice album. From a guy who saved his money during college so we could go down and buy the next Kate Bush album, this album is a really nice bit of work, and long overdue. Two very strong CDs in this package, and I could easily listen to two more, since they seem to travel so seemlessly together. King of the Mountain is a great introduction to the work; PI is incredible, and just shows how when you have as much talent as Kate does, it doesn't matter what the song's about. Bertie I could have done without, but the rest of the first album just keep getting better as it goes along. The second CD is nicely tied to the whole bird theme, and I find myself at the end of it much too soon. Though her voice does waver a bit in a couple of the songs, Kate has obviously still got it going, and I hope she feels inspired again very soon, as this work is some of her best, and she should strike again while the iron is hot. Thank you Kate.
Report this review (#61886)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Singer and composer Kate Bush launches her comeback from 12 years of absence as powerful as when she started her career by fiercely conquering music lovers in 1978. This double-disc album will best meet the expectation of high-and-mighty standards of her fans.

Like she had done with her earlier albums, Bush, now 47 years old, infuses so many obsessions and lushly romantic paeans to things mundane and cosmic. She also weaves eloquence around her materials. Her voice is still strong to magically convey emotions in each song, which reminds us of her past hits like "Wuthering Heights" and "The Man With a Child in His Eyes".

The first disc, "A Sea of Honey", is a good appetizer choice for those who usually fit instantly with easy listening music, though it contains a set of songs that mostly are a deep look into domesticity -- with the exception of the opening, "King of the Mountain". These songs are well-crafted and beautifully arranged into varied forms, from full-on rock band to solo piano.

As for the second disc, labeled "A Sky of Honey", it's definitely a guarantee for those who prefer conceptual set of songs. Stretch over 42 minutes playing time, the selected songs Bush puts in it meditate the passing of 24 hours. There's drama of everyday life, things that almost always interesting, sometimes even startling, except that meditation means it takes more time and special situation in order to enjoy the songs as well as to get into the message. There's no way both destinations could be reached by listening to the disc while you're driving.

While there's no pushing of the envelope, this album has its plus side than its predecessors: it creates an ordinary world that seems remarkable as long as you enjoy it with all your heart.

Report this review (#74631)
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Twelve years in the making, released when most fans (including myself) had already lost hope of ever seeing another Kate Bush album, "Aerial" had all the ingredients of a huge disappointment - especially as its predecessor, "The Red Shoes", had actually been one. The news leaked over the Internet, however, pointed to something more than promising - a double album, with one of the two sides dedicated to a 'concept' in the tradition of 1985's "Hounds of Love".

So, was "Aerial" worth the wait? On my part, the answer is: absolutely. Together with the above-mentioned "Hounds of Love", this is possibly Kate's masterpiece - an elegant, sophisticated yet emotional album filled with fascinating, multifaceted music, intriguing lyrics and stunning vocal performances from one of the greatest singer- songwriters in rock. Kate's trademark, haunting sensuality is still present: however, the songs are not so much based on love and passion as on Kate's personal experiences of the past years, above all the life-changing experience of motherhood - wonderfully immortalised by the lovely, medieval-tinged "Bertie", a moving tribute to her 'sunshine'. The album opener (released as a single a couple of months before), "King of the Mountain", dedicated to the myth of Elvis Presley, is Kate at her best, her passionate vocals emoting over a background of electronic percussion and keyboards. On the intriguing "Pi", Kate's voice manages to make a list of numbers sound utterly fascinating; while on "Joanni", dedicated this time to the iconic character of Joan of Arc, her voice is pitched lower to suit the darker mood of the song. My personal favourite on Side One (titled "A Sea of Honey") are "Mrs Bartolozzi", where the simple, everyday act of doing the washing becomes a metaphor for starting over again after having been abandoned by a man. Kate's singing, accompanied by a haunting piano melody, is heartbreakingly poignant. "How to Be Invisible", another very personal song about Kate's desire to avoid the public eye, is the album's rockiest track, featuring electric guitar and a strong backing rythm; while the closing "A Coral Room", dedicated to Kate's mother (who died before the release of "The Red Shoes"), is haunting and rarefied, so intimate one almost feels like an intruder while listening to it.

On Side Two ("A Sky of Honey") the songs are longer and more structured, and they blend into each other with ease to form a harmonious whole. It starts with Bertie's voce over Kate's delicate piano, then flows into the lyrical, romantic "Prologue", accompanied by Michael Kamen's orchestra and featuring some lyrics in Italian as well, sung by Kate with a movingly comic accent. The two following tracks, "An Architect's Dream" and "The Painter's Link", continue in much the same vein; after that, things get a bit more lively with "Sunset" and "Somewhere in Between", with beautiful vocal harmonies and a light, airy feeling which reflects the content of the lyrics. The two closing tracks, the disco-tinged yet haunting "Nocturn" and the rousing title-track, with its almost military rythm, seem to merge in a crescendo of intensity, peppered with sound effects like birdsong and Kate's laughter.

The stylish packaging of the album, with its honey-hued cover and booklet containing all sorts of gorgeous images - including a beautiful portrait of Kate itself - deserves a mention as well, since it is part of "Aerial"'s attraction. Needless to say, the musicianship is outstanding: besides Kate's long-time collaborators like brother Paddy, drummer Stuart Elliott and bassist Del Palmer, there are contributions from Procol Harum's Gary Brooker, on backing vocals and Hammond organ, and 10cc's Lol Creme, also on backing vocals. In brief, one of the very best releases of 2005, and a triumphal return to form for one of rock's most creative and sensitive musicians - highly recommended.

Report this review (#77504)
Posted Monday, May 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars After absolutely adoring Hounds of love and particularly The Dreaming i was expecting good things when i found this at the library. It was a very dissapointing album.

Both discs are absolutely dominated by this awful slushy electronic sounds. It completely lacks drive and urgency and so causes the listener to become rather bored with it. Furthermore it is lyrically quite awful with songs like pi in which she recounts pi for most of the song. Mrs Bartollozi although has a better melody it is again almost laughable in its lyrics as Bush sings of a washing machine. How to be Invisible is the best song on the album with quite a haunting feel but this good track is followed by the almost twee Joanni which is a return to the sloppy electronics.

The second disc seems much the same as the first. Still dominated by boring electronic slush. Although it does have good moments especially in the song Nocturn which becomes quite powerful with soaring harmonies. One of the few good moments in the album.

All in all a very underwhelming and tiresome album made particularly dissapointing when seen in comparison to the excellence of her earlier work. I give it two stars as it does have the occasional good moment and isn't actually painful to listen to, just profoundly boring.

Report this review (#79894)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars King of the Mountain - 5/5 - This is probably the most well done track on the first disc. Kate's vocals are really dynamic and ear-pleasing here.

Pi - 4/5 - A nice track thats probably about twice as long as it needs to be.

Bertie - 5/5 - I really enjoy this, it almost sounds like Loreena McKennitt's early stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kate was influenced by her.

Mrs. Bartolozzi - 2/5 - Kate's voice over piano - just not my cup of tea.

How to Be Invisible - 4/5 - Unlike the rest of the album this song sounded very good the first time I heard it and got a little worse each time thereafter.

Joanni - 5/5 - I just really dig this song. Its got a vibe to it.

A Coral Room - 2/5 - I'm a bigger fan of the electric stuff. Call me shallow, but this piano-oriented stuff doesn't really do it for me.

Prelude - 5/5 - Its really just a short segue introducing the second disc, its sounds nice and I really have nothing bad to say about it.

Prologue - 4/5 - It really starts to pick up near the end, and then it ends right when I'm starting to feel it. I would have liked a couple extra minutes.

An Architect's Dream - 4/5 - Its rhythmic and drum oriented, and I like that. Its just missing a little bit of oomph.

The Painter's Link - 4/5 - Another segue, but I docked a point cause I don't really like the painter's voice. Mwahahaha.

Sunset - 5/5 - Wow, the bass playing on this track is hypnotic. I also happen to really like the lyrics. The last 2 minutes are unexpected, climactic, and enjoyable.

Aerial Tal - 5/5 - Another segue, but a fun one as Kate immitates a bird singing. 5 for originality and pulling it off so well.

Somewhere in Between - 4/5 - The male vocals on this track meld very well with Kate's, and it sounds very good but it could use a little more variety, because this song feels like a test on my attention span at times.

Nocturn - 5/5 - This is very easily my favorite song on the album. The bass is just plain groovy here, the organ sounds fantastic, and the electronic sounds just send me over the edge. Combine this with Kate's beautiful voice and you've almost got a perfect track. The last ingredient, the lyrics, are what make this the perfect recipe. I can visualize the crisp ocean view as she sings "We stand in the Atlantic and we become panoramic."

Aerial - 5/5 - A great song to end the album. Nice guitar and strings, I really have no complaints about it.

With almost 80 minutes of superb material and only a couple tracks I don't care for, I am inclined to give this no less than 5 stars. I consider it about on par with Hounds of Love.

Report this review (#81250)
Posted Thursday, June 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Never had I heard before a more or less "pop album" being that excellent as KB's latest Aerial. For me it's beating by far their (in my ears) highly poppy releases "Hounds of love" and "The Sensual World". This work is done with a much higher degree of sensitivity and pretension (meant in a very positive sense). It's just awesome how those natural bird voices had been integrated into the music and actually I've never heard it this way before I listened to this album. And who else than her could sing that emotionally about such a profane thing as a washing machine. What else could I add about this masterly done album that hasn't been said already before by other reviewers? I just can confirm both the compositional quality and performance of all musicians involved here are absolutely excellent and top notch. Aerial is an album that you can spin over and over again without becoming boring what wasn't the case for any release by KB for me. Fully deserved 5 stars (though I'm trying to be mean with that rating in general, but in this case I can't defy it)!
Report this review (#86360)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's about time I reviewed this album, so here goes! After a break of over decade Kate Bush returns with a superb album. For me, this ranks up there with 'Hounds of Love' and 'Never Forever'

Aerial consists of two discs, 'A sea of Honey' and 'A sky of Honey' The first is more, what you might choose to call 'straight forward' Kate Bush; a collection of good songs - some better than others - with a few great stand out moments and few misses too. The opener 'King of the Mountain' is a funky and atmospheric offering, all about the apparent immortality of the Elvis Presley phenomenon. Not my favourite subject matter, I have to say, but a great song nonetheless. The second track 'Pi' (denoted by the symbol on the album sleeve) is my favourite on the first disc, and tells of a man autistically obsessed with numbers. Classic Bush quirkiness is complimented here by the way the song hangs in the air with a sense of teasing tension and expectation. I wonder if this song was inspired by the disturbing Darren Aronofsky film of the same name. The rest of the first disc is relativly weak IMO. The music for 'Bertie' is pleasantly folky, but the lyrics are a little sickly. I quite like the eccentric and silly 'Mrs Bartolozzi' complete with washing machine impressions.

Aerial really takes off on the secod disc, 'A Sky of Honey' This lengthy suite, with some kind of loose concept gluing it together, is Bush genius at its best. The beautiful opening three tracks set a very tranquil and rather melancholic scene. This is not the first time KB has worked with Rolf Harris, and his contribution to Aerial is as bizzare, but strangely appropriate and effective as it is on 'The Dreaming' 'An Architects Dream' and 'The Painters Link' ooze a mournful beauty, few artists can capture as well as Kate Bush. Next we have 'Sunset' an absolute gem of a track, which escalates from its gentle beginnings into a fine Flamenco, marking the first significant increase in tempo in the suite. Backing vocals come from Gary Brooker of Procul Harum on this piece. His voice contrasts Kates brilliantly, adding to the tension the flamenco rhythim brings to the song. 'Somewhere in between' bobs and glides along on a gentle 'Drum 'n' Bass' rhythim, whilst maintaining the tranquil atmosphere that 'A Sky of Honey' is built around. 'Nocturn' is hypnotic and is the beggining of the build up to the end of 'Aerial' The album closes with the title track, and the tension builds here thanks to a thumping, though quite slow house beat under the layers of rock guitar, pulsing keyboards and Kates vocals. A guitar solo builds upon this beat as what sounds like a Lute being strummed (?) joins in. Excellent ideas and a superb atmosphere surface in this closer, although it is arguably a little too long. The guitar and vocal parts get more tense, and finally give way to the birdsong, which seems a central theme to a 'Sky of Honey'

On the whole this album is indeed 'An excellent addition to any prog music collection' and is in my top three KB albums. The second disc is nothing short of masterpiece, and the first a pleasant enough listen. It comes highly reccomended by me, all I advise is that 'A sky of Honey' is always listend to in its entirity for optimum effect.

Good to have you back Kate!

Report this review (#114831)
Posted Sunday, March 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars KATE BUSH Aerial.what a great album!!!i always like kate voice.she have a unique style .probably not all the songs here are good as ''king of the mountain'[a fantastic opening song]' but you going to find tracks like ''Joanni '',''Nocturn '' or 'A Coral Room '' 'that are really really good .it may be too soon to really make a review that an albun that a listen only 6 or 7 times in the last 2 days but is growing on me really well .a four solid stars album for me ,but probably is going to be my favorite album pretty soon .time will tell....
Report this review (#116931)
Posted Saturday, March 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Some nice moments, but easily Kate's weakest album

I gave this album a rare 1-star review after my initial and profound disappointment with the album which I then sold. After some encouragement from a PA friend and seeing the outpouring of good reviews, I bought the album again recently to give it another chance. It is better than the vicious slogging I gave it initially, and I've added a star, yet I still believe it is easily her weakest album. "A Coral Room" is by far the strongest track on Aerial, a moving and intimate look into the Bush family as Kate talks about the memory of her mother. It's truly lovely. But it is the single bright spot on the first disc. The other bright spots are scattered here and there on the epic but underwhelming second disc, a connected set of tracks called "A Sky of Honey." There are some very pretty moments of piano and vocal, dreamy and relaxing. But even if this is intentionally minimalist as others note, there is so little of the Bush spark, so few dynamics, so few moments that grab you. It just goes by like easy listening radio. While I acknowledge it wasn't as bad as that butcher first review I wrote off the cuff, I just don't see how so many find this album as strong or amazing as her 1978-85 work. And many people do just that. Rather, Bonnek nails this album best, it sits nicely on the shelf as a companion piece to Sensual World, but no more. I feel bad about being harsh but I have to be honest. I know what it's like to be a Kate-fan and I think in our long dry spells of waiting between albums we may tend to give her a pass she hasn't earned. While serious reviewers can find things to like about this album, I think some really go too in proclaiming this thing a masterpiece. I would counsel newbies to make this the last Kate Bush album you investigate. Start at the very beginning and work your way to the end chronologically. Without question that is the best way to experience the wonder of the Bush catalog. Two stars is being generous here, given that the album has only one track I consider outstanding.

Report this review (#120004)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow! As far as my knowledge about what Kate has done to-date, this is her best album and the most prog album so far. No doubt about it!

Why do I consider this as PROG album?

The Approach. The way she approaches this album is definitely different with any standard album creation. I truly believe that the making of this album was not something that was done for granted, say by way of jamming the music and then putting piece by piece together and then plug each piece into song that at the end formed an album. Rather, she wrote the concept first and then the theme of the album followed with story-line and at the end wrote songs that built a concept album.

The result is an excellent design of a concept album! I can sense this even through the cover design of the album. At the front page I can sense the view of the same object mirrored by way of seawater. From this, one can see it the upper side which is the view from above the water (the sky) and the view from below the water (the sea). The two views (or perspectives) are then presented differently by dividing the album into two pieces: CD One is "A Sea of Honey" and CD Two is "A Sky of Honey". Oh man .. what a prog mind does she have! She is truly genius on presenting her album this way. I salute her on this brilliant idea! Why "honey" then? Well, I believe this must be something very personal to her but I can sense that she views the world in a bright side as indicated through the beauty of nature and the sounds of birds you can find throughout the album. In fact I just purchased this album last week (week commencing 5Mar07) during my holiday in the village of Ubud, Bali Island. I purchased at one Music Center in Ubud Center and the album really matched with the situation when I was relaxing in my holiday season.

The Composition. Let's talk musically. I can assure you that the music is very satisfying. But .. hold on .. don't ever expect that this album contains upbeat music. Not at all. Almost all compositions were written with very minimum music exposure. You would not find anything rockin' in this album. If you expect that way, forget about this album! But, if you listen to this album with loud volume in your power amps with full concentration and you read the lyrics as she sings along .. I bet you will get all beautiful subtleties produced by this album! Really cool .!!!

How the music is like? In a nutshell, I can generally say that the music is very similar with Peter Gabriel solo albums. Of course this statement is not totally through for the whole album but some of them are in the same vein as Peter Gabriel's, especially UP album. Basically, Kate tries to combine all great elements she thinks feasible to be included in her storyline in this wonderful album, ranging from the sounds of a bird an percussion sounds like in world music. She does sing wonderfully in this album even though she has changed her style if you compare it to the way she sung "Wuthering Heights" or "Moving".

I do apologize for not including a track by track review as this album must be considered in a whole and should not be reviewed at track by track level as it might lead to wrong appreciation. I'm willing to but I decide not to do so. The stream of music is so excellent from opening track till the end of the album and I haven't found any bad track at all.

From the musicians involved in this album, you can see how serious Kate was in making this album an excellent one. She plays piano and keyboards supported by talented musicians like John Giblin (with his unique bass playing), Procol Harum's Gary Brooker, famous jazz drummer Peter Erskine. And last but not least . Michael Kamen does the orchestration with London Metropolitan Orchestra.

Why I consider this is her best?

Well .. I don't need to elaborate further on this. I don't think in her previous albums she did something similar like I mentioned above. This album is her best in concept development, songwriting as well as performance. Count on me ..


Because this is the best album by Kate best and the most prog compared to her previous albums, there is no reason for me not to recommend you to buy this album. No doubt, you have to own it! The only shortcoming for this album, in my opinion, is too much blank space on each disc. Disc One only consumes 38 minutes and Disc Two is 40 minutes plus. Why not combining into one CD? It's not quite economic with two CDs. Unless, she cannot compromise with the overall duration which only well over couple of minutes after one CD capacity. Lucky that EMI Indonesia prints this album locally with the price that I can afford: Rp. 150.000,- (USD 14) for double disc. Keep on proggin' ..!

"Pianissimo - Where sands sing in crim-son, red and rust. Then climb in-to bed and turn to dust" - Kate Bush

Report this review (#120966)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Kate Bush is one of those artists incredibly hard to define. She has pop elements, yet also rock, folk and even some classical influences throughout her music.

This one takes the Hounds of Love two part ideas a step further, expanding over into a full 80 mins of music here. Her usual mix of catchy vocal hooks, rock beats, flowing melodies and general wierdness is all here in abundance. "Pi" has a chorus made up of a sequence of numbers, Rolf Harris turns up on a couple of tracks and theres a bridge exclaiming "Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy, Get that dirty shirty clean." So as you can see the usual 'creativity' is still there!

Its rare enough to hear songs with such odd content, let alone hear them sung with such passion! This album is perhaps her most progressive. There are a few longer songs here, and the second disc has proggy song structures. Generally, this album is more relaxed than her 80s output, many of them having an "airy" feeling, working with the "Sea of Honey and Sky of Honey idea." Theres a lot of material here so I wont go into depth on it.

The first CD is a collection of pretty good/solid songs, although a few of them are a bit unspectacular

CD 1

King of the Mountain (9/10) Pi (9/10) Bertie (7/10) Mrs. Bartolozzi (7/10) How to Be Invisible (9/10) Joanni (7/10) The Coral Room (8/10)

This is where it starts to pick up pace, the 7/10 songs here are short interludes that, while not being much, add to the overall piece nicely, otherwise there are some great songs on here. Most notably Sunset and Nocturn which are stunning.

CD 2

Prelude (7/10) Prologue (8/10) An Architects Dream (8/10) The Painters Link (7/10) Sunset (10/10) Aerial Tal (7/10) Somewhere in Between (9/10) Nocturn (10/10) Aerial (9/10)

Do make sure to give this album a few spins before rating, I thought this was an *ok* album on first go, and its not as accessible as Hounds of Love or perhaps even the Dreaming, but its a stunning and different piece of work.

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Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A lesson in style by the cool aunt of prog music.

Kate Bush truly has the soul of a true artist. Even her singles which feature frequently on both MTV and on the radio have an air about them which is completely unique. A lot of it, of course, has to do with her voice, which has the ability to be both beautiful and slightly stirring at the same time. It is not always pretty, but sometimes art is not supposed to be pretty. It is always very dynamic, however, and when the first disc of Aerial begins with King of the Mountain, we are instantly reminded of that.

Could you see the aisles of women? Bush sings, with a voice which sounds like it is afraid of touching the floor, as if floating on clouds, until it finally takes off in the refrain. A great song, even if i had a hard time accepting the vocals for a while.

The first cd of the two, also known as A Sea Of Honey is, very much like the first side of Hounds of love, a collection of songs without any real connection to one another, but of a very consistent quality, the best of these being Bertie, Bush's song to her son, 7 years old by the time of the album's release, and A Coral Room, a slow and beautiful song driven entirely by vocals and piano. How to be Invisible is also really great, and carries a bit more of a groove than the others.

The second disc, however, A Sky of Honey, is the most interesting for us who are into prog, as it is, again, like the second part of Hounds of love, a conceptual piece of music which plays like a true soundtrack to summer itself.

The feel of the second disc especially, but also the whole album itself, is very mellow and warm, Bush's piano gently caressing your skin like hot water, or a cloud in a sky of honey, until Nocturn picks up the tempo and with its steady beat drags you through the milky, silky water of the summer night for an intense journey and then you are welcomed to the other side by the last song of the album, the title track Aerial. It is even more intense than the one before it, except for a break in which Kate Bush's singing laughter is intertwined with the song of what i assume is a blackbird, both sounds which must be considered two of the most beautiful in the world.

There is great variation musically on the album, even though it mostly stirs in the softer end of the spectrum with a lot of piano. Bush has a very fine taste for melody, and her vocals are always exciting and unpredictable. The whole album is very tastefully done and balanced, there is no cluttering of sounds anywhere, and the production, as far as i can tell, is perfect.

Of course, no album is perfect, but i do believe that Kate Bush accomplished all she set out to do on Aerial, and i do think it is a very solid work of a high quality. If i have to pick a least favourite song, though, it may be Ms. Bartolozzi from the first disc, only because it is not a song i think i would listen to much out of context due to its slow tempo, but it is followed by the up-tempo How to be invisible, another highlight of cd1, at the exact poing you think it's going to fall apart completely, so it really fits in perfectly the context.

My personal favourite songs on the album are Nocturn and Aerial, because they really feel like they release all of the songs before it, and stay congruent to the concept while differing musically, if that makes any sense at all.

I do not hesitate to pull out the five star rating to this gem, because everything about Aerial communicates a feeling of warmth and emotion, and while it is not the Van Der Graaf Generator style of emotional with the bombastic blasts of sax and screams, there is an ethereal beauty which isn't as obvious but which can move you on a very deep level.

Recommended for all, but be in a mellow mood, this, as so much prog, isn't appreciated best while talking on the phone or when you're stressed out.

Report this review (#161314)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars No doubt that from the dawn of her career, Kate Bush had contributed a lot to the feminine expression in rock music, and had opened new and vast horizons for women such as Bjork and PJ Harvey, among many others, all over the world. Nevertheless, something in her art has always been deterred for me, something that prevented me from devoting to her songs and albums completely.

However, this album is different. It sounds much more delicate, even exquisite, with a huge improvement at the vocals, and still, without loosing the edge, that unique Kate Bush style and expression. At least not in the first CD, that called "A Sea of honey". I'll relate to the second CD, "A Sky of honey", afterwards.

The subjects here are 'homely', such as laundry, little son Bertie, or philosophical thoughts about Pi number. As it seems, a mix that would hardly appeal to the average male progger. But it's Kate Bush here, in her own special way, and she manage to convince in a place that others might fall into a horrible kitsch, or just superficial boredom.

Seven delicate and charming songs are included in the first CD "A Sea", and listening to those songs feels like having some delicious pralines. What really adds to the whole result are the fantastic arrangements and production. But not 'production' in the bombastic or show off way, by any mean. 'Bertie' is performed by complete renaissance ensemble, include viola Da Gamba and percussions from that era, and the listener is invited to dance with little Bertie in a Renaissance flavor, at 3/4 time signature. In 'Mrs. Bartolozzi' (the 'washing machine' song) she accompanied herself with piano only, and both playing and singing are outstanding. At 'King of the Mountain' there is a buildup at the additive mode, where each instrument is added at a certain time. And what may seem to be a standard description of thousands and thousands of songs turns to be something unique under her hands. Each role is interesting and compelling, and each entrance makes its own special moment.

So far about the first disk ("A Sea") and the better one, according to my taste. Regretfully, the second disk "A Sky of honey", failed to reach the same heights and intense as the first one. IMO, the fact that few tracks got names such as 'Nocturne', 'Prelude' or 'Prologue' does not make it a concept creation, or even a good creation. This part sounds to me much more standard and mediocre, and apart from very few moments, didn't impress me deeply.

However, the reason for the three stars rating is not the second disk, because I tend to rate albums due to it's better moments, and 40 minutes of excellent music are more than enough, but due to the fact that this is not a 'progressive' product IMO. And on this site I prefer to save the higher ratings for more 'pure' progressive albums.

Anyway, this is not to reduce the value of the music for a bit. The value of the music is very high, and it is worth checking for those who are looking right now for a good, memorable, and up to date songs album.

Report this review (#176612)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars After twelve years without a new album, you would expect a flood of creativity from someone with a history of great music like Kate Bush. Well, we do get two whole CDs of music here. But what for? Where are the dynamic, heartfelt vocals? Where are the deep, exotic, and sometimes downright weird lyrics? Where is the energy? Not here.

What we get are sixteen drab tracks of blah. If Kate is content and happy, that's great, I'm glad for her. But two CDs of serene blissfullness is enough to put me to sleep. Now I know why I waited four years to get a copy of this one.

Report this review (#219852)
Posted Thursday, June 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Aerial" is the 8th full-length studio album by UK pop/rock artist Kate Bush. The album was released through EMI/Columbia Records in November 2005. "Aerial" is a double album with a 80:02 minute long playing time. Kate Bush last album "The Red Shoes" was released in 1993, so "Aerial" has been 12 years in the making. Kate Bush became a mother during those years though and have dedicated much of her time on parenthood.

It´s obvious from the get go Kate Bush has matured quite a bit since the release of "The Red Shoes (1993)", and while her music and her singing are easily recognisable as her style and sound, it´s especially the lyrics that are different from past lyrical subjects. The sensual themes are toned down considerably and instead the tracks primarily revolve around everyday life. There´s a track about doing the laundry ("Mrs. Bartolozzi") and a track about Kate Bush love for her son ("Bertie"). The new lyrical approach is ultimately quite charming although it undeniably lacks the edge of past output.

With an 80 minutes long playing time there´s always the possibility of fillers but I don´t think that´s the case with "Aerial". All tracks are well crafted and performed but it is an album that takes time and listens before it sinks in. The second disc with the title "A Sky of Honey" is sort of a concept piece. While the 12 years that have gone by since "The Red Shoes (1993)" have matured certain elements of Kate Bush sound, the music on "Aerial" is rather typical for Kate Bush. There are the mellow piano and song oriented pieces featured and the more keyboard dominated pop songs are featured too. Most tracks feature slightly experimental sections or arrangements that lifts her music to a more intriguing level than standard commercial pop/rock tunes.

The musicianship are on a high level. Kate Bush is an outstanding vocalist capable of putting all sorts of emotions into her singing. She has a lower range these days but the emotional impact her voice leaves is the same.

"Aerial" is packed in a sound production that is warm, organic, and pleasant. A perfect match for the music on the album. While "Aerial" is a more mature and reflective album by Kate Bush, it doesn´t quite reach the heights of her early and most celebrated work (the first five studio albums). She is still quite the unique artist though, and while "Aerial" doesn´t exactly conjure up the magic of the past, it´s still a solid comeback release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#228574)
Posted Monday, July 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars All this weekend I spent listening to Kate Bush "Aerial". I found her music for myself somewhere in early eighties, and was apsolutely hypnotised by her "Never For Ever" album.

"Army Hero" , and after - "Babooshka" - what could be better? But later I was heavily disappointed with her albums, full off polished pop songs. And I missed any interest to her music for years.

Some years ago she returned back ( with album and in some music awards show in UK), so I just remembered that she exists still. It wasn't enough reason for me to buy her new album, my previous disappointment was too strong.

And now, after some years and after reading many of (mainly) good reviews, I decided just to try. What do you you is the result?

OK, to be fully correct, I will start from sentence, that she is real professional musician /singer and the music in new album is professional. Melodies are not bright enough, after you will finish the @CD album you hardly remember two-three melodies at all. Arrangements are very softly polished, the sound is pure synth,midtempo, a bit melancholical. All album evaporate comfortable feeling with simple synth-drumming, warm atmosphere. During all 2 cd's no explosion, no surprise, no even change of rhythm.

Kate was is good and very characteristic, lyrics are between clever and boring. All in all, was I impressed by her new album after 12 years of silence? No way!

Professional warm polished synth-music with characteristic vocal and monotonious drumming ( in addition to simple synth - music in total). Is that album listenable? Yes, at least you can listen these 2 CD's without pushing yourself and repeat after short time. Is this album masterpiece? Are you joking?!

Comfortable listening after your children went to sleep.

Report this review (#239140)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Aerial suffers from the same symptoms as The Sensual World and is made up of uninspired material that has been worked on too much in the production studio.

The opening track King Of The Mountain did probably begin its life as a decent 2 minute piano ballad that was stretched to a 5 minute tediously paced full-band arrangement. The instrumentation is dull and old fashioned, the performance is lifeless. It's a sad conclusion but Kate has lost it. The list of uninspired songs with dreary puffed up arrangements is endless, Pi and How To Be Invisible are dead-born songs failing to stir up any emotion in the lethargic state this album has lulled me into.

The first acceptable moment comes when it's just down to Kate and her piano. I'm not referring to the appalling Mrs Bartolozzi, but A Coral Room is acceptable, even if doesn't measure up to anything of Kate's first 5 albums. Still here it's a standout track. After more then an hour of music this double album ends with 2 tracks that are acceptable. Nocturn takes its time but still manages to build up some kind of tension. The same goes for Aerial.

After 12 years of radio silence, this album comes as a huge disappointment, missing both the song writing, the sensuality and the spontaneity of vintage Kate Bush music. I barely paid attention to the previous album The Red Shoes so I couldn't say which one is the worst of those two, but compared to anything else by Kate Bush this can't possibly rate more then 2 stars.

Report this review (#262267)
Posted Sunday, January 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a well-crafted pop album in a 80s kind of style, but better recorded. The songs are mostly either electronic-based or piano ballads, the latter played very nicely by Ms. Bush herself. Although much of it is intelligent, songs about numbers and washing machines I find to be trite. To be honest, I would have preferred to have seen a little more artistic care rather than artistic pretentions. The album comprises two disks, but could have easily been kept at one. The total running time is only 80:02. One less repetition of "washing machine" or a few less bars of the last track, Aerial, would have sufficed. Personally, I find the two disks to be a waste of resources. I may surmise her reason for this in the fact that both disks are different from one another. The first disk, titled A Sea of Honey, tends towards mid-tempo pop songs and slow ballads, most of which I find rather dull. However, one of my favorite tracks on the whole set is here - Bertie, which utilizes Baroque stylings and instruments. Eligio Quinteira's renaissance guitar adds a nice touch to the proceedings (along with other instruments of the period). In fact, Kate Bush brings some first rate musicians on board, not the least of which are Peter Erskine (of Weather Report fame) on drums, jazz bassist Eberhard Weber, and Gary Brooker on Hammond and backing vocals. Lol Creme also makes an appearance on the backing vox. I am not familiar with the other musicians featured, but all seem to be fine performers.

The second disk, A Sky of Honey, is the better of the two, more cohesive. The last four tracks form a continuous suite that starts gentle and ends with a driving electronic beat. The presence of the word 'honey' in the titles and lyrics indicate that Ms. Bush's theme here is one of lightness. I would also add brightness and elevation. The album title, Aerial, is a bit of a play on words, for it implies anything that rises high. Bird songs are repeated motif, and one of the best parts of the whole album is when she sings, "What kind of language is this?" as the birds chirp in the background. Her laughter at the birds to is really quite delightful, a sound not often heard in the seriousness of prog music. Besides the final suite, An Architect's Dream is also one of my favorite songs.

Kate Bush has delivered, after many years, an album that I consider overall good, but not great in any way. Being on two disks really does bug me, and there is a repetitiveness that sinks in, especially on the first disk, that really bogs the album down. I would give A Sea of Honey two stars, and three to A Sky of Honey. Overall, I will rate the album three stars, mostly because the finale raises the music above the level it sinks to on the first disk, and thus ends on a very positive note.

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Posted Monday, March 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars "Aerial" is a tremendous album from Kate Bush who joined in a collaborative effort with the likes of Rolf Harris who is terrific on didgeridoo. Harris knows how to get just the right sound of the outback as he is an expert at capturing atmospherics such as on his famous Aboriginal paean 'Sunarise'. This album in fact is Bush's most atmospheric, encapsulating a very strong environment. Bush delves into some dark territory on this with haunting songs about loss, separation and returning to the painful past.

The package is stunning with beautiful haunting artwork, and over 2 CDs worth of studio material that tells a compelling story. Some unforgettable moments are captured as Kate sings about the washing line and the clothes waving as if they are alive, reminiscing on her long lost husband; how she hung his clothes out that seem to have manifested his spirit. Bush really captivates vocally on this stunning concept album; it is one of her finest works.

The bird song that is heard in places lends an unmitigated chilling vibe, along with other effects used to create an ambient tangible atmosphere. Kate's vocal performance, powering out poignant lyrics, are among the best thing she has done in a long and somewhat jaded career.

CD 2 is the 45 minute epic 'An Endless Sky of Honey' beginning with gorgeous piano, a child speaking and bird whistles. The epic blends a number of songs into one multimovement suite. The crystalline quality of Bush is mesmirising, as she moves to low husky tones and the trademark soprano high register. One can just get lost in this lovely piece, as it transfixes with exceptional emotional musicianship and a melancholy mood.

There are no other highlights to mention, as it's all great quality and works as a long enchanting masterwork. I could almost give this 5 stars but it is not quite to that level. Nevertheless "Aerial" is an incredible piece of music and songs that are among Kate's best since her powerhouse opus's "The Dreaming" and "Hounds Of Love".

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Posted Monday, June 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Aerial is Kate Bush's most mature, inventive and mysterious album. After 12 years the prospect of new material was exciting and I wasn't disappointed. And this happens to have the power to draw you in more with each listen. The melodies and accompaniment are stunning. The majority of the album is slow tempo, and very subtle. It's like being relaxed and stimulated at the same time. The first half of this double album is full of Bush quirk, all great songs, of which Mrs Bartolozzi stands out the most, a very clever, unique ode to her washing machine! Listen to the lyrics here about washing her lovers clothes while making some rather sensual and sexual references indeed. It really comes into its own on the second half, a gorgeous and flowing visual montage of landscapes and birdsong sunstes. More of a painting than a record! It's a concept album like the Hounds of Love second side the Ninth Wave, and as great as that was this is even better. "An Architect's Dream" and "The Painter's Link" features the wonderful artist Rolf Harris who briefly lends his vocals. Overall favourites here include "Sunset" and the dreamy "Somewhere In Between". Brilliant production and percussion on the album throughout! I can't recommend this enough. Bush's inspiring musical and poetic songwriting genius really shines through here!
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Posted Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Though Kate Bush had created an absolute classic in the form of Hounds of Love, her two subsequent releases (The Sensual World and The Red Shoes) both lacked something - the latter, in particular, seemed to have been badly compromised by an attempt to push the music in a more commercial direction - and twelve years of silence followed as Kate withdrew to recover her creative energies and be a full-time mother for a while. Aerial is a triumphant return to form which comes across almost as Hounds of Love part 2; like Hounds of Love, half the album consists of individual songs whilst the other half is a conceptual suite which includes a similarly wide range of influences (with a bit more Mediterranean music this time around) and a similar tendency to drop in voice samples for theatrical effect.

On the whole, I wouldn't say it's as good as Hounds of Love, and there are a few points where Kate seems to be retreading old ground, but it's still a very good album. Kate has clearly been paying attention to developments in music during her self-imposed hiatus, since it never feels like a nostalgia exercise in recapturing her old sound and instead does a great job of applying two decades of musical evolution to the style of Hounds of Love. If, like me, you found Kate's career went a little off the rails after that album, you'll find Aerial puts it right back on track.

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Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars After a long hiatus, Kate Bush returned in 2005 with a double cd called AERIAL. I was very excited to listen to it after I purchased it. ANd then I was dissapointed. AERIAL just never caught on with me. Too mellow I think. "A Coral Room" is the best thing here, but nothing else brings anything to the 2 discs. Maybe if it had been culled to a one disc cd it would have come out better. I see there are many 5 star ratings for AERIAL on this site, but not for me. It is good but not great. I prefer THE DREAMING and HOUNDS OF LOVE much more as well as THE SENSUAL WORLD.
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Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Kate Bush is among the select group who have produced great musical works with 20 or more years of distance between them.

Aerial is a complex and well made product. This album is performed without the need of having to test. And that is evident in the music. Kate's voice is intact, and your good taste in music, too. The second disc is more progressive than the first, which also has very good tracks. Maybe it's a bit lengthy, some songs could have been shortened a bit, as Nocturn. For some his best work, for others its worse. For me, one worthy of his best work.

Progressive Pop Art is a term not appealing to the common denominator of progressive rock, but Kate Bush is worthy of recognition.

Report this review (#984269)
Posted Saturday, June 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars After taking a long break from touring and recording, Kate Bush returned with this excellent double album. Sounding nothing like her previous album 'The Red Shoes', or really any of her other albums, this album shows mostly her strengths of songwriting and composition. For the most part, it is quite ambient, some songs with rhythm and some are just Kate and a piano. The real center of this album is Kate's beautiful and unique voice, and just like before, she has all kinds of vocal tricks up her sleeve.

Kate wanted to do a double album where each album focused on 2 different things. The first record is called 'A Sea of Honey' where each song is about a different person. The first one is an up-tempo song about Elvis and wondering what kinds of things he would be thinking about if he is alive somewhere out there. This was the only single to be released off this album, and it is also the oldest song on the album, written a few years before, but Kate never felt comfortable with it until now. 'Pi' is a mid tempo song with Kate singing in a dreamy yet surprisingly dynamic voice about a mathematician who has a fixation on numbers. The amazing thing is when she sings the endless number that represents Pi, and how she does it with so much emotion, like someone that actually has this personal attachment to numbers. This is something only Kate could do. 'Bertie' is about Kate's son, who was kept secret until Peter Gabriel spilled the beans to a reporter. This is an emotional and personal song. Her son was one of the main reasons why Kate took such a long sabbatical, she wanted to be involved in her son's life. The next song is 'Mrs. Bartolozzi' is a beautiful and emotional song about a fictional woman who basically has not much of a life, that when she washes her clothes, she stares into the washer and imagines it is a huge sea with waves crashing around. This turns into a romantic fantasy of sorts that is very sad that a washing machine is the one thing that takes her away from her mundane existence. This song is just Kate and a piano, but there is so much depth to this one that it is all you need.

'How to Be Invisible' is one of my favorites. It has a good beat to it, yet it stays slightly subdued. There is also a great guitar hook throughout the song that drives it forward. A very beautiful melody and catchy. Some have accused Kate of copying Radiohead's song 'How to Disappear' from 'Kid A', because both songs are about a book who's subject is disappearing. Kate said that if she had known that, she wouldn't have written the song, so I am personally glad she didn't know it. One of her biggest fears is writing a song that sounds like someone else's. The song is about a person that wants to become invisible. 'Joanni' is a mid tempo song about Joan of Arc. This one hasn't really phased me much yet, but it is a little more complicated, so I will give it time. Last of all on this half of the album, is 'A Choral Room', which is a portrait of Kate's mother and memories of her up to and including her death. This one is very personal and you feel Kate's love and heartache in her voice. This one is also just Kate and a piano, with a short interlude sung by Michael Wood.

The second record is entirely a suite of songs called 'An Endless Sky of Honey' which is about any day following the movement of light and birds. It starts off with a 'Prelude', which is the sounds of birds with synths and piano and Kate's son Bertie reciting a short spoken word passage. This follows into 'Prologue' and moves immediately to the afternoon. This one is mostly Kate's voice and a piano, but the difference between this one and the minimal tracks on the first record is this one is much more structured. 'An Architect's Dream' has a mid tempo beat driven by what sounds like bongos, but very softly. Keyboards and synths provide the instrumental background. It talks about an artist working (inspired by the painting 'Fishermen') and how the lines in the painting are like an architect's dream. 'The Painter's Link' is a short interlude where time moves into late afternoon and the painter's painting gets washed into a picture to streams of color. 'Sunset' is more of a soft jazzy number. In this one, the painter's colors transform into the sunset. The music builds into a faster rhythm, keeping with the jazz feel. Very nice. 'Ariel Tal' is another short interlude with birdsong and Kate starts to mimic the sound through wordless vocals as if she is talking to the birds. Even if it may sound corny on the surface, I love this carefree sound. 'Somewhere In Between' is everything you love about Kate Bush's music. Nice, lush instrumentation and Kate's beautiful voice. This one is my favorite on this part of the album. Gary Brooker is doing the male vocals here. The day moves into twilight as Kate reminisces about a romantic encounter. This one is simply beautiful.

The next track is 'Nocturn', which means we have reached nighttime. Kate and her lover go driving to the beach and spend the night swimming. This one seems less structured at first, but moves into a mid tempo with a driving rhythm. From the lyrics in this song and throughout the suite, Kate paints everything, every scene, just like a painting through her words. That is the main strength of this track especially as she treats the experience as a painting come to life. There is an instrumental section and then the sun starts to rise as the lovers realize they have spent the entire night there. The light climbs up an aerial and the reflection is blinding and the dreamers are waking. Next comes the title track 'Aerial'. The song builds with a driving rhythm as Kate wishes to climb up high with the sun and the birds. She starts mimicking the birds again and singing wordless vocals and laughing, expressing joy and excitement of a new day and the beauty of life and birdsong. Soon and instrumental section begins, percussion drives to Kate's vocals again. She makes us all want to be up on the roof, and soon after guitar and keyboards have an interlude again, a sampled chorus joins her on the roof.

This is an amazing album from an amazing talent, one of her absolute best. If you missed out on this one, then you need to get it for it's beauty and its progressive sound. Like I said before, it is mostly ambient, but it also has some surprisingly driving melodies also. Nothing is formulaic as far as traditional songwriting and singing goes. However, it is very accessible, but never predictable. The first record of the double album is probably more loose and improvisational sounding, where as the second record is more structured, but almost all of it has that ambient feeling to it, which only drives the beauty of it all. This is a must have for progressive rock lovers, especially for Kate Bush fans. It is an amazing album that never gets tiring. You will grow to love it more as you get more familiar with it also. 5 glowing stars for this one.

Report this review (#1937871)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2018 | Review Permalink

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