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Kate Bush

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Kate Bush Hounds Of Love album cover
4.18 | 539 ratings | 38 reviews | 48% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Hounds Of Love -
1. Running Up That Hill (5:03)
2. Hounds Of Love (3:03)
3. The Big Sky (4:41)
4. Mother Stands For Comfort (3:08)
5. Cloudbusting (5:10)
- The Ninth Wave -
6. And Dream Of Sheep (2:45)
7. Under Ice (2:21)
8. Waking The Witch (4:18)
9. Watching You Without Me (4:07)
10. Jig Of Life (4:04)
11. Hello Earth (6:13)
12. The Morning Fog (2:34)

Total time 47:27

Bonus tracks on 1997 EMI remaster:
13. The Big Sky (Meteorological Mix) (7:44)
14. Running Up That Hill (12" Mix) (5:45)
15. Be Kind To My Mistakes (3:00)
16. Under The Ivy (2:08)
17. Burning Bridge (4:38)
18. My Lagan Love (2:30)

Line-up / Musicians

- Kate Bush / vocals, Fairlight CMI, piano, producer

- Alan Murphy / guitars (1,3,8)
- Brian Bath / guitar (11), backing vocals (5)
- John Williams / guitar (12)
- Paddy Bush / balailaka (1), didgeridoo (3,10), violin & fujara (12), backing (5) & harmony (7) vocals
- Dónal Lunny / bouzouki (6,11), Irish bouzouki (10), bodhrán (10)
- Kevin McAlea / synthesizer (8,12)
- Jonathan Williams / cello (2)
- The Medicci Sextet / strings (5)
- Dave Lawson / string arrangements (5)
- Liam O'Flynn / Uilleann pipes (10,11)
- John Sheahan / whistles (6,10), fiddle (10)
- Del Palmer / bass (1,10), Fairlight bass (8), Linn programming (1,8,12), backing vocals (5)
- Eberhard Weber / bass (4,11,12)
- Martin "Youth" Glover / bass (3)
- Danny Thompson / double bass (9)
- Stuart Elliott / drums (1,2,4,5,9-11)
- Charlie Morgan / drums (2,3,5,8,10)
- Morris Pert / percussion (3)
- John Carder Bush / backing vocals (5), spoken voice (10)
- The Richard Hickox Singers / chorus vocals (11)
- Richard Hickox / choir master (11)
- Michael Berkeley / vocal arrangements (11)
- Michael Kamen / orchestral arrangements
- Bill Whelan / Irish arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Smith Studio with John Carder Bush (photo)

LP EMI ‎- KAB1 (1985, UK)

CD EMI ‎- CDP7461642 (1985, UK)
CD EMI ‎- CDCNTAV (1997, UK) Remastered w/ 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to fishy for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy KATE BUSH Hounds Of Love Music

KATE BUSH Hounds Of Love ratings distribution

(539 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(48%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KATE BUSH Hounds Of Love reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Kate's masterpiece and possibly my favourite album of all time. "The Dreaming" was good but alienated a few people who thought it too weird. Some of the singles from it flopped badly ("There goes a tenner"). "The Hounds Of Love" changed all that. Self-produced in her own studio, it is a part-concept album.

Running up that hill This was the first single from the album and is one of her best known songs. Features one of my favourite Kate moments - the harmony vocal on the "come on baby" bit.

Hounds of love Back in the charts again recently. Driven by the drums, a song about being overwhelmed by love . Some people might find the dog impressions a bit silly.

The big sky One of my top 5 Kate songs, this was apparently a riposte to her critics. A really upbeat song. Great video.

Mother stands for comfort My least favourite song here - I've never quite managed to get the rhythm behind it. It's about a murderer.

Cloudbusting I've heard this described as "stately". Driven by strings, this is based on "A Book Of Dreams" by Peter Reich, being the story of a man who invented a machine to make rain from clouds. The video features Kate with Donald Sutherland and is heartbreaking.

And dream of sheep This is the start of the epic "The ninth wave", which tells of a woman who is lost at sea, facing death by drowning, and the tortured night she spends in the water. A beautiful piano-based song, nobody can sing songs like this better than Kate

Under ice/Waking the witch/Watching you without me/Jig of life The continuation of "The ninth wave". "Watching you without me" features a backwards vocal which still sounds backwards if you play it around the right way. Jig of Life is an old Irish tune discovered by Kate's brother.

Hello earth I've reviewed this separately as this and the following track are the highlights of the side. "Hello earth" is similiar in feel to "And dream of sheep" and also features a "monks choir" which gives it an eerie feeling. It fades out with Kate whispering "go to sleep, little Earth" then bursts into...

The morning fog Another of my top 5 Kate songs. Features John Williams on guitar. The line "do you know what, I love you better now" makes the hairs on my neck stand up. A fantastic end to a classic album. I wouldn't give out 5 stars to many albums but this is without question one of them.

The remastered version is the one to get - much better sound and includes good remixes of "Running up that hill" and "The big sky". Also features the extra tracks from the original 12" release of The Big Sky, including the beautiful "My lagan love" which Kate sings unaccompanied.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars We notice here a real evolution in the sound and keyboards: it is indeed much more modern than her previous albums. The keyboards create atmospheric textures, especially on side 2; the background is often really floating & ambient. I must admit that side 1 is pretty dull, except some good bits. Kate's voice is very nervous and excited, rather irritating, like it is the case on her preceding album "The Dreaming". I do not appreciate the omnipresent stressing & nervous sounds, a bit like on "The Dreaming" album. I find many passages to be slightly dissonant. There are many rhythmic drums with a repetitive hammering. The best tracks are the most mellow ones. The fretless-like bass on "Mother stands for comfort" and "Morning fog" is excellent. So, 3 stars for the first side and 4 stars for side 2 gives 3.5 stars. I do not feel comfortable listening the whole album. Kate can do quite better!

Raing: 3.5 stars

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Hounds of Love" features in many 'best-ever album' lists published by music magazines or websites. Unreliable as such lists are, in this particular case there's no hype involved, as Kate Bush's fifth album is an undisputed musical masterpiece, an almost perfect album that still sounds fresh today as it did on its release, over twenty years ago.

The music here is by turns ethereal, romantic, wistful, sometimes even aggressive and disturbing. "Running Up That Hill" opens the record with a strong, almost disco-ish electronic beat, on whose background Kate's dramatic voice soars and emotes. Heavy percussion also features prominently in "The Big Sky" and, though a bit more sedately, in the title-track. The poignant "Mother Stands for Comfort" leads the way for the epic "Cloudbusting", whose video (featuring Donald Sutherland) is as deeply moving and beautiful as the song itself.

Side Two is entirely taken up by "The Ninth Wave" (the title is taken from a poem by Lord Tennyson), a suite in seven separate movements based on a fascinating concept: the last hours of a woman trapped under ice, her thoughts and memories before death. It may sound macabre, but Kate deals with this disturbing subject with her usual lightness of touch. Musically it is as mesmerising as the story behind it, with Kate's vocals sounding heart-wrenchingly sweet in the opening "And Dream of Sheep" and in "Hello Earth", menacing in the sinister "Waking the Witch" and in the traditional Irish tune "Jig of Life", wistful in "Watching You Without Me".

As in its predecessor, 1982's "The Dreaming", ethnic instruments blend with violins and the omnipresent piano and Fairlight played by Kate herself to create a musical mixture that is at the same time adventurous and soothing to the ear. A classic album to be treasured by every lover of high-quality music.

Review by richardh
5 stars Kate's fifth album sees her bringing together everything she has learnt.This album shows great maturity in all aspects of her music and to this day still seems as fresh as ever.

One of the most appealing aspects is the way she focuses on the 2 seperate 'sides' .The first side contains the singles Running Up That Hill,Cloudbusting and Hounds Of Love.Everyone on the entire planet must have heard these! Quite brilliant music and on its own makes this a fine album.

However as other reviewers have already pointed out its 'The Ninth Wave' that makes this really special.This interlinked collection of songs is so beautifull.Kate explores all sorts of styles,textures and moods from avante garde synth to ethic irish jigs and soaring symphonic peices.'Hello Earth' stands out in particular but its all a joy to my ears.

Overall this is a rarity,a successfull and much liked album that has genuine artistic credablity.

Review by Matti
5 stars With a large amount of full rates, Hounds of Love should be near the top in Prog- Related top100. For the very first time I'm paying some attention to those rank lists as I rate an album. But as mitigating circumstances I point out that my review is only the 9th this far. I wish this site was more equal what comes to number of reviews...

I see some analogy between this album and Peter Gabriel's So: both are succesful works mixing hits and arty stuff - but there's no question which one is the winner in the depth and uniqueness. Also the hit singles here are better than the two funky stinkers on So. 'Running Up That Hill' was undoubtedly overplayed at the time, but boy, it really IS catchy and effective in a delicious way. Frankly, I don't like 'Big Sky' (nor the title track) very much. They aren't bad songs at all, but on the Kate Bush scale... let's say they are less interesting. 'Cloudbusting' is quite monotonous on the surface but a hell of an art-pop song. I think even without ever seeing the gorgeous story-like video, the song would give me goosebumps as it floods powerfully to its climax. One more track on the first side, 'Mother Stands for Comfort', seen by some as a lesser part of the album, but I'm quite fond of it. Sound effect of breaking vessels maybe gets repeated too much. BTW, this is the ultimate Fairlight track.

The second side is among the finest of all popular music. Beats 'Supper's Ready' anytime for me! 'The Ninth Wave' is a suite of six songs that can be listened as independent tracks too, but they form an entity which is more than the sum of its parts, to use that worn-out cliché. Ghost Rider interprets (or is acknowledged of KB's intentions?) it as a narrative of a dying ice-trapped woman and her memories. Could be, though I actually never have tried to interpret it that thoroughly. I just have been carried away by the mesmerizing beauty of this music and the inner images raised by it.

I also have a memory linked to 'Under Ice': I once skated on the lake of my ex- hometown on a moonlit winter evening, playing that track on my mind. And actually there's another strong memory of listening this suite: that was in our bygone summer cottage in a bleak autumn or winter night. Especially the man's manic monologue at the end of 'Jig of Life' and the starting of Hello Earth', which was one of my dearest pieces of music. (If it fails to touch me as I grow older I begin to worry losing some sensitivity.) How many of you have noticed that the male choir on 'Hello Earth' is taken from b/w classic film Nosferatu?

There's a bright ending to this album, 'Morning Fog', on which the guitar of John Williams is fresh like a morning dew. I don't dare say this is a 100% perfect album, but it surely touches high Heavens.

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars As far as I’m concerned 1985 was one of the most barren and desolate years for good music since before Elvis and the Beatles came along back in the Neolithic era. There were really two outstanding albums: Marillion’s ‘Misplaced Childhood’, and this one. That’s really it – everything else pales in comparison.

Not that this is some kind of progressive music icon – it’s not. It is an extremely well- written and impeccably produced pop album with lots and lots of precise and exotic instrumentation, lush arrangements, and Ms. Bush’s intoxicating vocals. Coming a few years after ‘The Dreaming’, ‘Hounds of Love’ doesn’t quite have the consistency of lyrical themes that one did, and in fact the tenor of the song’s words seem to have moved a bit away from character sketches and story-telling to more like aural landscape painting. There are a few tracks with poignant themes (particularly “Mother Stands for Comfort” and “Running up that Hill”), but many others are much less grounded in the meaning department – “The Big Sky”, “And Dreams of Sheep”, “Jig of Life”.

The percussion and ethnic instrumentation are what really distinguish this album, in addition of course to Ms. Bush herself. Brother Paddy in particular adds plenty of texture with his considerable skill on violin, but also balailaka, dijerido, and fujare (uh… it’s like a flute, I guess, but has an amazingly electronic tone to it).

This is a pretty well-known album, so track-by-track descriptions are really unnecessary. Suffice to say there are no weak tracks, although “And Dreams of Sheep” and “Under Ice” are really too brief and abstract to be very memorable. Also “Waking the Witch”, which hearkens back to the more bizarre ‘Dreaming’ album and doesn’t quite fit here.

Those aside, this is the album that delivered a number of Ms. Bush’s most memorable and vibrant works – “Running up that Hill”, “Cloudbursting”, “The Big Sky”, and the title track. The Ninth Wave Suite that makes up the back half of the album is intentionally much more ethereal and mellow than the front, and considering the times in which it was released necessarily meant those tracks wouldn’t become as memorable. And in fact all the singles came off the front of the album – pretty much all of them were released as singles. The 1997 re-release includes the b-sides of those singles, as well as the radio/ dance edit of “Running up that Hill”, although I haven’t heard that one and don’t own any of the singles so I can’t really comment on it.

Like most of my Kate Bush albums, this one really captivated me when it was released, and for several years after that. But over time it has faded somewhat in its appeal, owing mostly I suppose to the rather staid suite that covers the whole back side of the album; and possibly also because I’ve heard the tracks that became singles so many times that their charm has somewhat worn off.

Nonetheless, this is an excellent album, and fans of eclectic percussion, strings, upbeat arrangements, and the lovely but acquired taste of Ms. Bush’s considerable vocals skills should enjoy it. For those reasons this merits four stars, and is well recommended.


Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "A Deal With God"

Hounds of Love is Kate Bush's most essential title to many of her fans and to critics alike (though not to me). Listening to Hounds it is easy to understand why. Lyrically, musically, conceptually, Hounds is an undeniable solid work of "progressive pop" music. Side one features five good single tracks, mostly pop songs but absolutely arresting in their beauty and construction. Most would be made into videos showcasing Bush's equally amazing talent in dance. My only minor complaint here is the electronic percussion, but then this was the 1980s, when it was common for percussion and keyboard sounds to be "unfortunate" to use a nice word.

Side two is the Kate Bush magnum opus "The Ninth Wave", a side long conceptual piece that was to become a film. It is on the strength of this side that Hounds is made truly special for any fan of progressive pop. Long, well constructed, and highly imaginative, it was the swan song piece for me. For me Bush's essential work was in the 1978-82 period. Hounds represents the tail end of Kate's golden era, but what a run it was. Newbies should start at the beginning and work towards Hounds. After Hounds proceed with caution.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As far as musical concept, I believe that Kate Bush is very prominent and talented in composing and performing her music. This proves to be right with this "Hounds of Love" album. Her previous critically acclaimed album "The Dreaming" was considered successful by fans and British rock music critics. Right after the success of "The Dreaming" she spent few years in the country finding critical components for her next album "Hounds of Love". This album did not attract me personally at first spin due to the fact of recording quality which put emphasize on mid-range voice and dry bass sound. This kind of voice did not sound good to my ears but it grew on me with couple of spins even though it required efforts to digest the music.

The music of "Hounds of Love" blends mainly the components of R&B combined with world music as indicated by the roles of percussion throughout the album. Unlike the music of her hits "Wuthering Heights" or "Moving", this album does not really focus on catchy melody even though some tracks have some nice melodies. Melody might not be considered by Kate as she might have decided to move away from pop music which typically focus on melody. Track no. 4 "Mother stands for comfort" (3:08) which has better melody compared to its previous three tracks. The piano work augmented with tight bass lines make this song better. The following track "Cloudbusting" (5:10) also has poppy melody augmented with string arrangement, followed with piano-based mellow track "And dream of sheep" (2:45). My favorite track is "Jig of life" (4:04) which has elements of Scottish music and energetic style. This tracks moves beautifully with "Hello Earth" (6:13) which has nice melody.

Overall, this is a good album that showcases Kate's talents in composing and producing an album which has unique characteristic of its own. In a way, some of the music reminds me to the Peter Gabriel's music but it does not apply throughout the whole album because it's different and original. That's why I always regard Kate as one of excellent composer and singer. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars Anyone who feels the '80's were a wasteland for progressive music might want to reconsider. On Hounds of Love Kate showed that you can successfully (commercially speaking) mix pop into prog. It appears that only four other tracks than Running Up That Hill made it into the UK charts, so I think it's fair to characterize this as primarily a progressive album particularly if you consider the substance in the music.

As much as I had started to lose interest in broadcast radio and stick to vinyls and cassettes of prog music, I do recall Running Up That Hill getting decent local airplay. I had already taken an interest in her music after hearing the track from The Dreaming on college radio. I tried Never So Ever next. I've never been enthusiastic about her first two, though, to this date. It's entirely possible that the single would have caught my attention if I hadn't already gone nuts over the previous two albums.

For LP (vinyl) purposes, this album was divided into two sides, the Hounds of Love side being the more pop oriented. I think Mother Stands for Comfort probably belongs more on the Ninth Wave side. This side really moved me and if I hadn't become a solid Kate Bush fan already this music certainly cemented it. It's really a continuous piece of music, but still divided into distinctive songs. A concept side, if you will. Not a piece of music you want to listen to if you're feeling depressed, necessarily. The theme is about the process of dying, the songs don't tell a continuous story, though. It's like several different characters at various steps going though the process. It ends on really bright note, the song Morning Fog, which has a John Williams cameo (the classical guitarist not the film score composer, of Sky fame, progressively speaking) on acoustic guitar.

I'm on my third copy, solely for upgrade purposes, which is the EMI100 edition, which comes in a heavy cardboard sleeve (could do without that, takes up too much room in my collection). On the plus side it does have a CD booklet with some nice extra pictures of Kate. This version also comes with six bonus tracks: The Big Sky [Meteorological Mix] (7:44) Running Up That Hill [12" Mix] (5:45) Be Kind to My Mistakes (3:00) Under the Ivy (2:08) Burning Bridge (4:38) My Lagan Love (2:30)

The Big Sky [Meteorological Mix] is a basic remix with a nice dijerido and percussion intro added. This is the '80's so the mixes are dance mixes and has added cloud commentary from unidentified people. Running Up That Hill (Ruining Up That Hill ?!?, just kidding) [12" Mix]. I haven't taken the time to analyze that track, but it seems to be some kind of disco version mix. I might be wrong. I haven't done a comparison, but it might have just been a rearrangement of the beats to something less complex. Be Kind To My Mistakes is one of the better bonus ones. It might have fit in with side one, probably didn't seem as prog appealing. Under the Ivy is interesting, but honestly a weak track, and no surprise that it didn't make the original cut, still a nice little song. Burning Bridge is probably the most raw of the bonus tracks, more interesting as an artifact, but ok on occasion. The last bonus track, Lagan Love is a beautiful solo vocal rendition of the traditional song.

Review by fuxi
4 stars Generally speaking, I'm not particularly enamoured of Kate Bush's vocals, and I must admit most of the songs on the original A-side of HOUNDS OF LOVE leave me cold. It's not that they're bad, but as soon as you've heard the first verse and the chorus of each, you know exactly how they're going to continue. After a minute or less you're fed up with each.

The 'Ninth Wave' suite on the B-side of the album, that's what it's all about! Some earlier reviewers have indicated that they actually prefer this to "Supper's Ready", and I'm inclined to agree. A portrait in music of a drowning woman, it's not only more intense, more frightening and exhilerating than Genesis' piece, it's also a more grown-up work of art, almost as demonic as LA DAMNATION DE FAUST by Berlioz. The orchestrations are superb - but here's where my doubt set in. I mean: perhaps it's not really fair to compare 'The Ninth Wave' to Genesis' work, which was completely written and performed by the band's own members. It's true that Kate Bush 'produced' (in a technical sense) HOUNDS OF LOVE, but all choral and orchestral arrangements were carried out by others, so to what extent does this album count as her artistic statement? Whatever your views on this matter, it must be pointed out that Kate's singing (both lead and backing vocals) is unmatched in its range and its imagination. There's not a single male prog vocalist who ever pulled off a 26-minute suite like this. I doff my cap.

Review by The Crow
4 stars The best Kate Bush album, in my humble opinion...

Hounds of Love is a compilation of all the ideas Kate devoloped in the late 70's and in the beginning of the 80's, with a lot of new and interesting things... The experimentation of Never Forever and The Dreaming is still here, but also the accesibility of some songs of The Kick Inside and Lionheart, with some new elements like the folky Jig of Life, and the pop himn The Big Sky. The mellow tracks are also really insipred, like Mother Stand for Comfort (with a great bass line), the beautiful And Dream of Sheep and the marvellous ending The Morning Fog.

The only track I dislike is Waking the Witch, too much noisy and weird... I love the Kate Bush's experimentation, like the great track Watching You Without me, but Waking the Witch it's too much, I think. But overall, this is a wonderful album that deserves be haeared slowly and in its integrity... This is the reason I will not say wich are the best tracks. Because despite there are some great and some not so great songs, except Waking the Witch I like all of them!

Conclusion: one of the best pop albums I've ever heard... Experimental, moving, beautiful, funny, original... All that a great album should have it's here. It's impossible for me not hearing this album without thinking about the great influence that Kate Bush is for singers like Björk and Tori Amos. And Hounds of Love is her masterpiece, although I can't give it five stars because some weaks moments don't allow it being perfect for me.

My rating: ****1/2

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hounds of Love is the fifth album from Kate Bush and her last truly good album ( I haven´t listened enough to Aerial yet to make a judgement, so this comment doesn´t include that one). On Kate Bush previous album The Dreaming she experimented with the new possibilities that eighties synth gave her and she explored the possibilities in her vocal range. Hounds of Love is a bit more commercial while still maintaining the prog tendencies that has been present in her sound from the beginning. Hounds of Love has a very distinct sound. It´s a real eighties album. The drum sound is unmistakably something from the eighties and many of the synth sounds are definite eighties sounding too.

The music varies from uptempo pop songs like Running up that hill, The big sky and Cloudbusting to more quit and subtle songs like Mother stands for comfort, And dream of sheep and Hounds of love. There are also some more experiental songs here in Under ice and Waking the witch. Jig of life also stands out for having a folky celtic violin basis. Hounds of Love is a very melancholic album IMO and the mood is pretty sombre on most songs which is something I favour. Kate Bush has written many beautiful songs on her previous albums but some of the songs on Hounds of Love really move me. They are exceptionally beautiful.

The musicianship is as usual very good. Listen to the fretless bass playing in Mother stands for comfort. Just beautiful.

The production is surely an aquired taste as it is very eighties sounding. This might turn of some potential listeners, but personally I enjoy this sound as it makes Hounds of Love unique in Kate Bush discography.

I´ll recommend listening to the whole album a couple of times before dismissing it if you´re one of those who have a hard time with the eighties sound. The album has many different styles and moods that you won´t experience unless you give it time. To me this is another 4 star album from Kate Bush. It´s beautiful, it´s varied and most important great feelings are unfolded here and I´m perceptive. Hounds of Love is highly recommendable as is Kate Bush four previous albums The Kick Inside, Lionheart, Never For Ever and The Dreaming. Kate Bush creative peak lasted about 8 years which is a pretty long time for any artist to release essential albums. Unfortunately she didn´t follow Hounds of Love up with another excellent album and an era had ended.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Round four and Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love will land happily in your lap wearing the essential tag. This is where Kate struck pure platinum in terms of concept and composition. An extraordinarily beautiful piece of music from the opening ' Running Up That Hill', a sombre reminder that it requires a tireless engine to make it through life ( er thanks for that one Kate Bush), but she was never one to not tell it like it really is, the excited and celebratory ' Big Sky' kind of reminds me of watching a kid open some Christmas presents and the fantasy epic ' Cloudbusting' that closes side one. Side 2 is one long piece interconnected suite of music The Ninth Wave where Under Ice and Waking The Witch are spine chilling to say the least, you almost want to skip to the end in anticipation of the end result. Like an epic book, this I repeat is a masterpiece from the 80's archives and sounds as fresh today as it did 20 odd years ago.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars After the masterpiece that was "The Dreaming", I was excited when it's follow up was released too many years later. Now, don't get me wrong, this is by no means a bad album, but compared to the album preceding it, it was a step backwards. Lyrically, this album is great, but musically, it features little of the progressiveness Bush had shown earlier.

It should have been a warning that the album opens with a fairly standard dance pop song, "Running Up That Hill", that at least has nome nice vocals. The remainder of what was side one of the LP runs through four more unmemorable songs with nice, but not spectacular vocals.

The second half of the album, called "The Ninth Wave" starts peacefully, with "And Dream Of Sheep" that I believe was meant to contrast with what is probably her creepiest, and most disturbing song ever, "Under Ice". That's where the album begins to show some of that quirky creativity I was waiting for. The strong portion of the album continues with "Waking The Witch", with broken call and response vocals over a heavy rhythm track.

The album then goes back to the good, but not memorable style of the first half of the album for the remaining four songs.

I wouldn't call this great, but it's better that any of her subsequent releases.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This music is so compelling. I can't explain why, I just know that it takes something inside of me and doesn't let go. I remember well hearing the first track all the time on the radio in 1985 and really liking it. It was different, it was brilliant as far as I was concerned. I didn't buy the album back then unfortunately. I say unfortunately because this is a special recording. It's divided into two halves.The first "Hounds Of Love" is made up of five tracks that look at different aspects of love.The last section "The Ninth Wave" is based on the story of a woman lost at sea who is under the threat of drowning. Through these seven tracks we get a glimpse of her thoughts, fears, feelings, memories, hopes etc.

"Running Up That Hill" has this relentless beat that goes so well with the song title. The squonking synths only add to the intensity. "Hounds Of Love" is such a great song as well. The dual drums and the cello as Kate sings in a more shrill manner at times. You can just feel her excitement. I remember it too. "The Big Sky" is catchy with drums, percussion and vocals standing out. Nice bass too. Some clapping later. "Mother Stands For Comfort" features some really good bass along with piano and drums with Kate's vocals. Some breaking glass too. Kind of experimental and haunting. I like it. "Cloudbusting" is so uplifting. Drums and strings along with Kate's vocals lead the way. This just sounds so good.

Next up is the 7 song concept "The Ninth Wave". " And Dream Of Sheep" is heartbreakingly good. Just Kate and piano. Gorgeous. The lyrics are outstanding as the woman is in the water, weak and wanting to sleep. Some whistles and bouzouki too. "Under Ice" is another fantastic tune. I like the violins to open as vocals join in. Desperation. Cool track. "Waking The Witch" is her battle inside with her thoughts about why this is happening to her. Vocal samples come and go to open with piano. It kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes. This is experimental.Intersting to hear the helicopter from "The Wall" which she thanks PINK FLOYD for in the liner notes (for the permission to use that sample). "Watching You Without Me" has this relaxed beat with double bass and vocals. "Jig Of Life" is very Celtic sounding with bouzouki, uillean pipes, fiddles and whistles. What a catchy track. Great sound. Spoken male vocals late. Intense. "Hello Earth" is so moving for me. Piano, strings, choir, uillean pipes, bouzouki and atmosphere. Haunting late. "Morning Fog" is the final track, it's morning, light is cast upon the sea. She sings "I am falling like a stone". And dreams of being able to kiss the earth, to say "I love you" to her mom, dad, loved ones and brothers. It's a bright and hopeful tune. Love the bass in this one.

Easily 4 stars.

Review by friso
2 stars Okey, sure this is nice popmusic... but these ratings seem to be out of context here. Everything about this record is electronic except for the vocals. There is no band, only Kate Bush and some equipment. The drums are electronic as well. This ain't a very good starting point for me, for I dislike records without bands playing on them.

The songs are good and catchy, which is the frustrating about this record. If they had only recorded it differently with some arrangements. Bush's vocals are inspiring and very 'real', they do make you feel she's honest with us. You could turn this on when your girlfriend's over, but this is by no means very essential for the progressive rock collecters among us. If you have much wider view on music then you might try is likable poprecord.

Two stars for me. This is for fans of Kate Bush or people who like catchy popmusic with something extra.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The least you can say about Hounds of Love is that it is a very versatile album, wavering between pop material and little sensual gems that equals Kate's best material from her early albums. Beware though, as versatile sometimes means uneven to other people.

Running Up That Hill is a good pop song with an interesting beat and smart minimal synth arrangements. But it pales greatly when compared to Peter Gabriel's accomplishments in that area. Hounds of Love sounds as if it is an outtake from The Dreaming. It's not bad but hardly noteworthy. Also The Big Sky disappoints, it's not much more then an insignificant remake of the opening track. Mother Stands For Comfort is the first song that really attracts my attention. At the heart sits a sensitive piano ballad, unusual sounds and rhythms give it personality. Cloudbusting is the second remake of the opening track and never evoked anything in me but irritation.

The second side of the original album is entirely different and dwells in melancholic and dreamy atmospheres. Despite all experimentation, Kate Bush is still best at ease alone at the piano, And Dream of Sheep is simply wonderful. Also the minimalist violin arrangement on Under Ice is marvellous. Chillingly beautiful. More piano follows on Waking The Witch, the spell is broken by a downright weird percussive middle part. A interesting contrast. Watching You is an entirely gentle catchy tune, similar to Mother Stands For Comfort from the first side of the album. Jig Of Life is a folksy song in a very modern arrangement. It hasn't aged a bit in 25 years. Hello Earth and The Morning Fog conclude the album on a strong note with delightful balladry.

An album with such contrasting styles is hard to rate. I'd give 2.5 stars for the first part and 4.5 for the second. It is decidedly less appealing to me then Never Forever, but more convincing then The Dreaming. A 3.5 stars will have to do.

Review by Warthur
5 stars The incredible Hounds of Love represents the culmination of Kate Bush's musical experimentations from her debut album to The Dreaming; in particular, the combination of traditional Irish music and her characteristic art rock style that pervades the album is a direct followup to Night of the Swallow on the preceding album. Combining a set of individual songs about different kinds of love on the first side with the art rock epic The Ninth Wave (comprising the songs on the second side), the album represents a progressive and artistic peak in Bush's output, and an emotionally moving experience which manages to be warm and comforting without ever being saccharine or twee. An incredible achievement.
Review by Dobermensch
4 stars The only problem with 'The hounds of Love' is the dramatic shift between 'poppy' side one and the undoubted successful side two. Back in '85 we had to get off our fat butts and, yes, would you believe it, had to flip the damn record over in order to hear side two before sitting back down again. Blimey, what a hassle! Nowadays with the advent of cd technology we can hear it all in one go! Praise technology!

Unfortunately this is the one thing that barricades 'The Hounds of Love' from receiving a five star award. Sure - 'Running Up that Hill' and 'Hounds of Love' are brilliant and original pop singles, but listening to it as a whole makes you wish Kate Bush had recorded this just 4 years later, as the disjointed continuity would have been banished if this were made for CD.

Stodgy singles aside, what makes this a super album is the second half. A brilliant conceptual construction which even has helicopter sound effects leant by none other than Dave Gilmour. Her vocals on this recording are when she was clearly at her peak with power and clarity that vanished rapidly on subsequent recordings. In 1978 my dad told me Kate Bush was a witch... and now I believe him after all these years.

'The Hounds of Love' is sometimes disturbing - paricularly in 'Waking the Witch', but is mostly beautiful in this Irish tinged, out of place for its time album, which hits all the right notes with me. A placid and somewhat emotionless side one is seriously outdone by a gut wrenching and power through beauty side two which I can very much relate to.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Ninth Wave is the side to listen to for the proggiest Kate Bush!

Kate Bush's self-written and self-produced "Hounds of Love" is renowned for the two powerhouse singles that I loved to hear often in the 80s and also admired the innovative MTV clips to go with them. 'Running Up That Hill' ("and make a deal with God"), is a wonderful way to open the album, with a strong rhythmic foundation and majestic melody. Kate sounds terrific with her vocal range stretched to the fore. She injects so much passion on this album, and really hits her peak with these two songs. The other single is of course 'Cloudbusting' ("everytime it rains you're here in my head, like the sun coming out?") that is driven by a violin and cello section with marching percussion. It is a very different approach for the songstress and stands out as a highlight of her career.

The other songs are heavier in some ways, especially on side one of the vinyl that seems to have a clear atmosphere distinctly different than side 2. The poppier side of Kate is here with 'Hounds of Love' and 'The Big Sky' and I am not a real fan of this style; all melody and no prog, though there is some delightful fretless bass. However, the album really takes off on side 2 known as 'The Ninth Wave', with the power ballad 'And Dream of Sheep', with beautiful echoed vocals, seagulls and improvised piano lines.

The dark string orchestration of 'Under Ice' is haunting, along with Kate's elongated vocals and multilayered chorus vocals. The lyrics are rather chilling and akin to the sort of theme explored on her latest 2012 release "50 Words For Snow". It ends with a voice saying "wake up" and this is followed by another voice pleading for the child to awaken at the intro of 'Waking The Witch'. This one really is creepy, the narrations and the eerie effects are haunting, and then when the demonic voice begins and the bizarre music clanks out, it is terrifying. This is as dark as Kate would get and it is a place she rarely ventures into, but when she does it is disturbing.

Next is 'Watching You Without Me', that has an Oriental Eastern feel and features some weird backmasked vox, and a Japanese chiming melody. An experimental approach is here using broken sound waves and unique instrumentation. 'Jig of life' is also unique with a distinct Irish jig sound with violins slicing out a joyous melody. The vox are decidedly dark and I like the violin soloing section; sounding very Celtic in nature.

'Hello Earth' is a longer song at 6:13, that features a nice moderate tempo, sweeping orchestra and Kate's melancholy vocals. The beat breaks a few times to allow an angelic choir to chime in, without a time sig for a while and then the piano and cello comes in with Kate crying out "Hello Earth". It closes with more choral vocal harmonies, keyboard ambience and Kate whispering seductively.

The album ends with an upbeat song 'The Morning Fog', with fretless bass, Japanese piano sounds and odd percussion. Kate's voice is mixed to the front "I tell my mother, I tell my father, I tell my lover, I tell my brother", and she is also heard on multi tracked backing vox. The acoustic guitar is delightful, and this is nice and short before it wears out its welcome.

Overall this is an album of 2 halves. The second half is definitely Kate at her proggiest and it is a shame the whole album was not as innovative. The 2 singles on side one are the only things of note on 'Hounds of Love' side, but 'The Ninth Wave' side 2 is brilliant from beginning to end. I would rate this as one of Kate Bush's triumphs and it certainly made an impact back in 1985, and continues to be hailed as a masterpiece.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kate's most popular album--I remember it debuting (both album and first hit release, "Running Up That Hill") at number one in England and staying there a long time (despite pressure from The Pet Shop Boys' debut arrival). But, the songs are still a bit too foreign for this Yankee's ears and brain (and the videos all but ruin some of the songs for me). The so-called album long "suite," "The Ninth Wave," has awesome effects and melodies and shifts and sounds but somehow fails, to my mind and ears, to blend musically into a cohesive epic. A story told in seven successive songs, that I can accept, but I find it difficult to consider this one long prog epic. In its day I remember no mention to this being a side-long "epic" though I'd read of its concept theme. Today it is regarded as both. Still feels a bit like seven songs to me.

Favorite songs: "Under Ice" and "Waking the Witch" (10/10), "The Big Sky" (8/10), and the unforgettable "Running Up That Hill" (9/10).

3.5 stars rated up for quality and creativity.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars This is not only Kate Bush's masterpiece, it is also on my list of perfect albums. It is one of those rare albums that I consider a 6 star recording. This is an amazing album with a wide variety of moods, styles and dynamics. It's one thing that KB has one of the most versatile and unique voices in music and that makes her music original and interesting. But to add to that the genius that so very few artists can do so well as what Kate did on this album and that is to mix the perfect blend of pop, experimentation and prog to make not only a successful album, but also one that is so amazing and that keeps it's timelessness over the years to still remain so great and not ever get stale. This is one album that I still enjoy as much as I did in it's day. If anything, my appreciation for it has grown.

The album is divided into two suites. The first 5 tracks are more individual, but have an underlying theme of different aspects of love. "Running Up That Hill" is the classic KB song full of mystery and lushness that is unbeaten. It reminds one of a foggy morning, so beautiful and strange. That feeling continues with "Hounds of Love". Both of these tracks carry with them the love of life that exists even with the limitations that humans have, the 2nd one being more carefree, while the 1st is more of a yearning for the impossible. "The Big Sky" also continues the poppish sound, but through these songs, you hear a constant beat, but there is an underlying current that makes the music so very un-typical of pop music that hasn't been copied or never will be. There is that air of mystery always apparent, yet almost with a childish attitude of happiness that comes with human nature, especially when it comes to love. "Mother Stands for Comfort" is probably the most inaccessible song on this side of the album. It is a moody slower song with some strange sounds and atmospheres. It includes a lot of vocal tricks of which Kate always has plenty of up her sleeve. This is one thing that has kept her from being completely pop fodder, her voice is unconventional, yet so beautiful and acrobatic. The music that accompanies her voice is not just backup sounds either, it is always important and interesting, just as interesting as the voice and the lyrics. Even on this album, it's still unconventional even with it's vicinity to pop. I hate calling this album pop by the way, because it is so much better than that genre. The last song on this side is "Cloudbursting" which is based on a relationship with a scientist and the work they are experimenting with. This returns to a consistent beat that was evident in different forms throughout the first side except for the 4th track.

The 2nd half of the album is even more interesting, beautiful and amazing. This suite is called "The Ninth Wave" and consists of tracks 6 - 11. Even with the greatness of the first half, this side is even better, mainly because there are a lot more prog elements in the music and because it is so original. The vocals and lyrics still retain their importance, but the instruments now are even more important and are used so well. There is an underlying story to the concept of this part of the album that has to do with dreaming, drowning and dying but living afterwards in a different realm. "And Dream of Sleep" is one of the most beautiful songs ever sung, so peaceful, yet so powerful. "Under the Ice" is so mysterious and uses strings to build tension and work together with the voices here to add suspense. The very strange yet wonderful "Waking the Witch" utilizes some amazing recording tricks that continue with the tension building, and this almost seems to be inspired by Pink Floyd's "The Trial" off of The Wall album. The music isn't copied, but the idea is similar with a dramatic ending. The helicopter sound effect is actually taken from The Wall and credit is given. "Watching You" is more of a floating piece with some cool percussive sounds and more of a minimalistic approach but Kate's vocals soar and flow around the instruments. "Jig of Life" is based on celtic music but starts off in minor key to build more tension and drama, but the tension is released as suddenly the jig takes on a major key and becomes very traditional sounding Irish dance tune for a short while after which Kate interrupts and starts putting moments in their proper places....suddenly the jig is minor again and a male voice builds tension again as poetry is recited. Quite an amazing song. "Hello Earth" closes out the suite in a beautifully sung quieter piece that is interrupted a few times by a Gregorian style chant with minimal strings or syth is played in the background. This is surprisingly effective especially with the release of the tension, even though she is free floating above the earth and all seems perfect, the chanting is done in minor key and reminds you that not all is as great as it seems. Simply amazing music, I can't describe how much I love this album. The last song is actually not part of the suite, but is more of a stand-alone song called "The Morning Fog" which brings everything back to earth again. This is a short piece that is reminiscent of Kate's earlier works and it actually fits in well with the rest of the album.

I can't help but love this album, I think it is probably my favorite album of that decade when it was released, in the 80s. If it isn't my favorite, then it is definitely up there with the best. Perfect musicianship, so many little inticricies and little nuances that keep it constantly fresh and interesting to listen to. No doubt I have to call this one of the most important recordings of it's time and even still to this day. Like I said before, this is a 6 star album in my own book, but I only have 5 to work with here. This is a masterpiece.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Modernized mid-80's sophisticated pop. The first song starts promising but never really evolves to a cresciendo and has an unfinished feeling in my opinion. The title track has more magic in it with melody and synths supporting, while singing does not always follow a straight forward melody. "Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2337692) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, February 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 1. Running Up That Hill avec l'intro et l'air reconnaissable, batterie métronomique sur un mouvement lancinant, fait de va et vient, une voix bon toujours aussi expressive et cet air progressiste qui n'en finit pas; des clips toujours déjantés montrant un monde hallucinatoire chez cet artiste; un ro ... (read more)

Report this review (#2310762) | Posted by alainPP | Thursday, January 30, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I find it hard to understand the prog fans out there that would take the view against Kate Bush being a prog artist, merely and falsely accusing her of being just a successful pop artist. Her masterpiece album 'Hounds of Love' cannot be unfairly called a pop album; of course, there are the hits ... (read more)

Report this review (#2186678) | Posted by DominicS | Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars HOUNDS OF LOVE-THE NINTH WAVE: The Pinnacle of popular music! I have loved this album since the first time that I heard it! Although I must admit, I didn't understand it fully, I did intuitively see and feel the gravitas that was being expressed! Along with The Dr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1976704) | Posted by HarmonyDissonan | Friday, August 10, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Like everyone else I'm currently caught up in Kate fever and in preparation for the shows I've been trawling through the likely material we'll be hearing live. She has produced some great pop, ballads and even prog but I'm sorry to say I just don't get the euphoria surrounding this album. Yes, i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1261852) | Posted by ProggyDon | Thursday, August 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars HOUNDS OF LOVE is truly an 80's release but what a wonderful one it is. One of the best she released alnong with THE DREAMING and THE SENSUAL WORLD. There is not a bad song on the entire cd. While the production and synths scream 1980's it doesn't really matter. Kate Bush and her pure voice would so ... (read more)

Report this review (#733626) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Finally after ordering the 2011 vinyl edition for my I own I have a sya on this. In 1985 my Brother won this LP and I was the first to unbox it and listen to side A "Hounds of Love". Beware, most of the songs were hit material... but with a twist being typically Kate Bush artsy. After listening to i ... (read more)

Report this review (#511831) | Posted by Caph | Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Hounds of Love" is a mature, very unique, emotional and original album. The first half of the album actually had four hit singles. The opener is the haunting, atmospheric "Running up that Hill" a song about swapping places with someone to share their pain. I really like its driving warlike drums. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#508678) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Thursday, August 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An album of hidden delights. It took a few spins for me to really get into this album, but once I did I discovered a lot of stuff I could enjoy. The dreamy atmospheres, the cheerful pop, and more. Kate Bush has a truly outstanding and unusual voice that makes her one of my favourite female vocal ... (read more)

Report this review (#172966) | Posted by burtonrulez | Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is *the* one. Of all Kate Bush's output this is the album you would most likely recommend to someone. Its not her wierdest, arguably not her most "proggy" but it balances accessibility with concept and great music/lyrics. Theres a wide selection of instruments on display here, from violins ... (read more)

Report this review (#141389) | Posted by mellors | Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's very difficult to write a review on your favourite album by one of your ever favourite artists... But I must try. Kate has signed some of the most beautiful pages in rock music, and, above all, she has done it in a period when music wasn't offering that much. "Hounds of Love" is the work ... (read more)

Report this review (#118309) | Posted by paolo.beenees | Friday, April 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the middle of the 1980s, suburban dads everywhere were showing off their new CD players with Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms", but the true classic of this era was Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love". It's a timeless and still unique record full of frighteningly original music. Her previous album "T ... (read more)

Report this review (#108153) | Posted by Open-Mind | Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Kate Bush deserves credit for consistently doing her own thing in a music industry where women in particular can often find themselves being moulded for their perceived audience. Hounds Of Love is I feel her most artistically successful album, with many heartfelt and emotional tracks woven to ... (read more)

Report this review (#83122) | Posted by mitsubachi | Saturday, July 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Who says there was no progressive music in the 1980s... this is an album strong enough to be mentioned in the same breath as those great British prog rock records of 1972 - Close To The Edge, Foxtrot and Thick As A Brick. My vinyl copy had been gathering dust with the above in the loft for ten ... (read more)

Report this review (#64334) | Posted by | Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm very appreciative that KATE BUSH was finally added to the archives, but especially this album in particular. Hounds of Love is one of the two albums that are linked to my childhood (which, in actuality, wasn't very long ago; I'm 17.), the other being Ever by IQ. My mother would always b ... (read more)

Report this review (#62050) | Posted by UltimaPrime | Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Twenty years after its release, this is still one of my three all-time favourite pop/rock albums of any genre. 1. Running up that hill (5:03) One of the most beautiful singles of the eighties. A track everyone probably knows, so no further comment necessary. A high 9/10. 2. Hounds of love ... (read more)

Report this review (#57111) | Posted by Dragon Phoenix | Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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