Aerial – press coverage round-up

As expected, a few mentions in this morning’s UK Sunday papers. The Observer has an article entitled “Comeback Kate” by Barbara Ellen: “We’ve had a sneak preview of her new album, and can assure you – it’s been worth the wait… I’m allowed to listen to one side – I choose the first – so long as I sit in a room at the EMI offices with a man guarding me, presumably in case I try running home with it, thereby committing the crime of trying to listen to an album properly. Despite these shenanigans, first impressions of Aerial are as good as one hoped. It is in fact vintage Bush: a melodic, organic sprawl of wind, sea, seasons, time passing, dreams, secrecy and revelation, all mixed up with a sound that seems to segue smoothly on from The Red Shoes and The Sensual World…Joan of Arc pops up in the stunning, atmospheric ‘Joanni‘. Most intriguingly, there is a song called ‘Bertie‘ where one hears a whole new Kate Bush – a mature, doting creature both energised and sucker-punched by mother love. ‘Where’s that son of mine?’ sings Kate, adding breathlessly, ‘Here comes that son of mine.’ I was ready to believe anything by the time I listened to Aerial. What I discovered is that nothing much has changed in Kate Bush’s world, except perhaps everything. She’s still seething with strangeness and brilliance. Even the fact that she’s a mother now isn’t likely to change anything. Bush has always written beautiful songs on all manner of themes including motherhood, and will doubtless continue to do so. It’s just kind of cute that far from being coy and privacy-obsessed, Bush can’t seem to shut up about it. As well as the song one of Bertie’s drawings graces the cover of ‘King of the Mountain’; he’s credited on the sleevenotes as ‘The Sun’.”

Also in The ObserverCarol McDaid explores what it is about Kate that inspires such undying loyalty: “I would never have heard about the conventions had I not subscribed to ‘the oldest established Kate Bush fanzine’. Homeground (the title borrowed from a track on Lionheart) was produced by three fans, in monochrome on shiny pages which seethed with love for Kate. It was illustrated with uncanny pencil sketches of her, often wreathed in ivy, by Homeground’s two resident artists, and, in the absence of any news, there were long features entitled ‘Five years ago’, ‘Ten years ago ‘. I flinched at some of the more intense letters; the reports of ‘Katemas’ 30 July, Kate’s birthday (the same day as Emily Bronte) – celebrated either on Glastonbury Tor or at Top Withens, site of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. But I didn’t cancel my subscription. My first convention was at Hammersmith Palais, November 1990, post-Sensual World; outside, a queue of geeky guys and gothic girls hunched against a cold Saturday morning. I went with a friend who was, like me, riven with curiosity yet anxious to appear only mildly excited. It was a surreal, quite long day. Wall-to-wall Kate Bush music; a quiz (Q: Who played didgeridoo on The Dreaming? A: Rolf Harris). People fresh off the plane from Japan and America swapped picture discs in dark corners. And Kate appeared from somewhere – it’s a bit of a blur – sitting on a sofa in grey, saying ‘You must be mad!’, before sweetly answering questions and singing a little thank you. In 1993 The Red Shoes was released, and a film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve, co-starring Miranda Richardson, which premiered at the London Film Festival in a double bill with Nick Park’s The Wrong Trousers, which I guiltily enjoyed more. Kate, in the audience with her partner and her father, left the cinema to rapturous applause. I have a memory of standing on my seat to get a better look. In 1994, at my second, and last, convention, Kate Bush rose through a hole in the floor of the Hippodrome, Leicester Square to a deafening roar, picked some raffle tickets out of a cardboard box, waved and fled. I can’t say I blamed her. I usually remember her birthday. And when the new Kate Bush single received its first airplay two weeks ago, on my way to work, I had to pull off the road.”

In Scotland On Sunday Nigel Williamson writes: “Bush’s record company, EMI, while keen not to over-hype her return and risk disappointing fans, can barely contain their excitement, and the buzz around the industry is that the album – entitled Aerial and due to reach shops on November 7 – is something very special indeed. “Everyone who’s heard it so far has proclaimed it an absolute masterpiece, quite possibly her career peak. It’s quite astonishing,” said one EMI executive. It’s a magnum opus of a double album, too, which is good news. King Of The Mountain is…a gloriously dense swirl of electronic pulses, synthesised beats and brooding guitars with a typically ominous vocal, it’s as epic and elemental as you could want…since her last album, British music has unearthed a rich seam of pretenders to Bush’s throne, including Dido, Goldfrapp, KT Tunstall and Joss Stone. They had all better look to their laurels: the queen of them all is back to claim her crown.” In The Independent On Sunday Adam Sweeting writes:”…happily, “King of the Mountain” is a sly and subtle piece of work, suggesting that Bush’s genre-defying musical intelligence burns undimmed.”

About Seán

Seán Twomey has been running the Kate Bush News & Information site since January 1998.
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