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Revisiting older work on this year’s Director’s Cut gave Kate Bush a chance to review aspects of her canon so far. Her approach was as clear-sighted and inventive as we have come to expect, and through gaining permission to use James Joyce’s words (“The Sensual World” became “The Flower of the Mountain”), she finally got to “meet” him, entering into a dialogue of sorts.
A sense of dialogue is where 50 Words For Snow picks up, but this time it revisits another theme of Bush’s: nature. Using snow as a kind of landscape, it provides a sparse, beautiful, and ultimately pure backdrop for her creativity to soar.
The title track makes good use of Stephen Fry, and his perfect enunciation as he recounts many made-up words for snow (“creaky-creaky” is a particular favorite) reminding us of the various idiosyncratic collaborators Bush has employed over the years (the wonderful Rolf Harris springs to mind). Housed alongside something of a busy, almost housey beat, with delicate synths and luscious percussion, Bush relegates her vocal to the background, as she encourages Fry (“Come on now, just 22 to go”), but although she is in the shadows, her unmistakable voice acts as a sensual metronome to the pursuit.
That voice soars once more on “Among Angels”, noting Bush’s deeper register, and along with the glassy, frail piano, she sings of seeing angels shimmering “like mirrors in summer.” Her own dazzling existence is contained within that poetic line, but it also serves to remind that words mean just as much to her as the musical atmosphere she creates. While looking for 50 Words For Snow, she has found 50 other original ways to express herself effortlessly, creating another intriguing piece of work. In 1980, she sang that “December Will Be Magic Again”; in 2011, she has made it so. – Consequence of Sound
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Gorillaz Singles Collection
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Louvin Brothers Handpicked Songs 1955-62
Los Campesinos Hello Sadness
Olivia Tremor Control Music From The Unrealized Film Script: Dusk At Cub