ONE WAY Recommends [Issue
Kate Bush By
Lovers of Kate
Bush (fan is too banal a word) have waited 12 years for this latest album and
they will certainly find it worth the wait. For everyone else, it’s worth
This is a concept album - yes, the concept of concept albums seems to be coming
back - and it’s a double-disc album which brings back memories of when
vinyl releases had two sides, each devoted to a different view. Aerial is split
into Disc One, on which individual songs speak to earthly issues and Disc Two,
a musical suite dealing with the relationship of humans, art and nature.
Disc One, “A Sea of Honey,” offers substance, with Bush’s
delicate yet forceful voice weaving through songs about enduring cultural legends
- Elvis (“King of the Mountain,” easily the most memorable track),
Joan of Arc (“Joanni,”) motherhood (“Bertie”), and believe
it or not, songs about mathematics (“Pi”) and laundry (“Mrs.
Bartolozzi.”)! If it seems bizarre for Bush to be singing numeric sequences
or a child’s laundry rhyme, well, Kate Bush could sing the phone directory
with that voice of hers. But more to the point, while macho rock critics may
sneer at the subjects of these songs, they are reminders that the world is made
of many small things and a true artist can make small things seem much larger.
Disc Two, “A Sky of Honey,” is more of a mini-opera, in which birds
play a major role. There are samples of bird songs and sounds of the sea. This
section seems more like the Kate Bush of the mid-80s with her penchant for fairy-tale
atmosphere and early Genesis-style arrangements. The title song refers to that
amazing effect we’ve all seen when birds sit on a telephone aerial looking
like musical notes.
The production, by Bush herself, is gorgeous. One should turn up the sound while
listening to this album - there’s no need to fear cacophony. Kate Bush
has delivered a work that stands with her best work from the past and we can
hope she’s back for a while to come.