Kate Bush

Record review

Phases & Stages

Kate Bush

Aerial (Columbia)

It's been a dozen years since English bird Kate Bush slipped on The Red Shoes, and nearly two decades since she gave us "This Woman's Work" and "Hounds of Love." Bush's expansive cry has always been her trademark, and it hasn't lost momentum on Aerial, a 2-CD set separated into A Sea of Honey and A Sky of Honey. Those expecting radical transformation, rejuvenation of the soul, well, you might be disappointed. Instead, Aerial keeps Bush's lyrical prowess intact, nature vs. nurture not an issue. On "π," she rambles off numbers and it sounds more like sorcery. "Bertie" is an ode to her young son, ostensibly the reason for Bush's recording absence, while on "Mrs. Bartolozzi" she sits at the piano and repeats "washing machine" until she manages to sound sensual rather than Stepfordian. The music ranges from lo-fi piano and percussion to muted strings, reaching at times into an adult nu-jazz flatline. Songs like Sky's "An Architect's Dream," which flows seamlessly into the pastoral hues of "Sunset" ("if the skies turn dark, we may live on in comets and stars"), bring back the mood. This is Kate Bush's domestic album. Listen to it stoned on a Sunday afternoon.

***

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