“Powerful stuff”: Stereogum

Album of the week from Tom at Stereogum, a new convert and not the first we’ve heard of since Kate’s new work has been released:

To this point, I’ve lived a full and happy life without ever much considering the works of Ms. Kate Bush. I knew the singles, sure, and I had a general understanding of her influence on later art-pop spell-weavers … But the singles, with their twisty helium squeals and their non-Euclidean melodies, never convinced me to dig much further. For the most part, Bush has been, for me, one of those canonical blind spots that everyone has. But her new 50 Words For Snow is the sort of album that convinces skeptics like me to go back and reconsider. At first glance, 50 Words For Snow comes waving plenty of red flags of pretentiousness. There’s the butt-ugly cover art. There are the virtually-nonexistent song-structures and the sprawling running times; not a single track dips under six minutes, and most go way longer. There are the loony concepts …  But when you actually give into the album’s seductive calm, all these weaknesses (except maybe the cover art) become strengths. Musically, 50 Words For Snow is a spare and delicate album, one that can unfold hazily in the background without demanding your full attention. Instrumentally, it’s arranged to flutter and waft, with its brushstroke drums and its impressionistic splashes of piano and its unobtrusive electronic ripples. Bush’s formidable voice remains in whisper-coo range most of the time, and her simple phrasings are enough to get under your skin. And with her lyrics so deliberately paced-out, it’s easy to forget how specific and absurd those story-songs can be … And once the album sinks in, which it will, even the most far-out ideas start to raise goosebumps. … the theme of ephemeral love slipping away is even more prevalent …  Once you let the album in, it’s powerful stuff.

About Peter

My Kate CV: Kate fan since 1978. Saw Tour of Life at the London Palladium 1979. Went to first KBC Convention 1980. Founded Homeground with Dave 1982. Worked on 1985, 1990, and 1994 Kate Bush Conventions, and the 1986 Video Party with Dave, Lisa of KBC and Krys. Appeared in videos for The Big Sky and Experiment IV. Wrote Introduction, Chronology and Discography for EMI Music Publishing's 1987 "Kate Bush Complete". Wrote the sleeve note for the remastered 1998 reissue of "Hounds of Love". Invited to write sleeve notes for other reissues which never happened. My other CV: born 1955 in Bermondsey London, educated at Galleywall Primary, Walworth Comprehensive, and London School of Economics BSc(Econ)(Hon) 1976. Currently an Officer of the Crown Court determining legal costs in crminal cases. Met Krys in 1982 through Homeground, we were engaged on Glastonbury Tor on Kate's birthday in 1983, and married in November 1984.
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One Response to “Powerful stuff”: Stereogum

  1. Darren says:

    I totally agree with this reviewer’s opinion of the cover and the artwork associated with this album. I think it is a major let down. Particularly as we have seen alternative images from the promotional campaign which are far more evocative and eye-catching.

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