Review by Roland Bruynesteyn
Album assigned by Nina A
If you have a past in pantomime (so you know how to move elegantly), and you write your own material and you possess a very distinctive voice, you must be David Bowie. Oh no, you’re an 18 year old in 1978 and you’re an intelligent nice looking girl: you must be Kate Bush!
And so she is. A few years before a second wave of successful female singers (from Madonna to Cyndi Lauper) started to manifest itself, Kate Bush hit the world with a bang. Some say she never recovered from the instant success of Wuthering Heights. I say she knew how to create and follow her own path. Like Peter Gabriel or Robert Fripp, Kate Bush is ‘ready, willing and able’ to change course for artistic reasons, and to not repeat a successful formula if she feels she might get stuck. So from her somewhat humble folky singer songwriting beginnings (albeit with some symphonic stuff, such as Wuthering Heights), in a few years’ time she moved in a prog rock and avant garde direction. She would top this on The Dreaming (before moving on to an easier sound with some great video clips) but on this album already we hear the singles Babooshka and Army Dreamers (and other songs, like All We Ever Look For) getting progressive touches and weird sound effects. Getting out of the mainstream is the goal here. But ultimately it’s all still very listenable.
It’s difficult to understand how a 20, 21 year old can make this music and succeed. She has found her sound and performs in a convincing way. All the songs have something to offer: Egypt sounds more Asian to me than middle eastern, just like Delius (in parts), and they’re both nice songs. The Wedding List sounds even better, starting slowly and gaining in intensity considerably. Violin is her Nina Hagen song, not really my favourite. The Infant Kiss is sort of The Man with the Child in His Eyes, part 2. Breathing is truly epic, using the in – out chanting to great effect. And Pino Palladino on fretless bass (I assume it’s him, don’t want to look it up) sounds great.
This is simply an amazing record and an early highlight in the career of a very interesting artist.