Kate Bush -’50 Words For Snow’ (Fish People)
It was such a long wait between The Red Shoes and Aerial – twelve years – that I cannot have been the only Kate Bush fan who wasn’t quite able to believe it when it was announced that there would be a new album six months after the release
of The Director’s Cut. But here it is.
In the Northern Hemisphere at least, snow is often used interchangeably with Christmas. This is not a Christmas album -though if Lionheart was like Spring, The Dreaming like a particularly barmy summer, The Sensual World an Autumn album, then this is a wintry album. She may have done a Christmas-type number over thirty years ago –‘December Will be Magic Again’ but this is nothing remotely like it.
La Bush has always known how to use the studio to her advantage. This is perhaps the most minimal-sounding -and I mean that as a compliment -album of her career. There’s always been a pastoral quality to her work, but think closer to later Talk Talk or David Sylvian here. Her choice of collaborators is perhaps likely to raise some eyebrows -her son Bertie, Elton John and Stephen Fry -until you hear the album. Bertie has a haunting treble voice and takes the lead on the opening track ‘Snowflakes.’ Stephen Fry thought-showers (we aren’t mean to say brain storm any more, do keep up!) different words for snow on the title track whilst she eggs him on: ‘Come on you’ve only got forty-four to go!’
On the second half of The Hounds Of Love album, the second part entitled The Ninth Wave was a concept album at a time when the music business, still reeling from punk considered such things with horror. This is another concept album, unconventional yet somehow heading for the masses in a way that only she can. There has been much amazing music released this year, and Kate Bush shows herself to still be on her own terms and still utterly captivating and different into her fourth decade. This is a truly phenomenal special album, up there with her best work, and mesmerizing.
50 Words For Snow is released on Fish People on November 21.