Posted in Album Reviews

Kate Bush – The Kick Inside (1978)

In late 2018, Kate Bush released her entire album collection over two CD box sets.  The first covered The Kick Inside through The Red Shoes.  My Kate Bush collection at that point covered four of the albums but it was still an easy decision to put money down and have everything in two box sets… Regardless of the peculiar fish head man on the box cover.

The first album is the debut, the aforementioned The Kick Inside released in early 1978 when Kate was just 19 years old.  The album is very theatrical with The “Saxophone Song” describing a scene in a Berlin bar but also featuring an unfortunate sax solo. “Strange Phenomena” is another cinematic song that sounds like it could have been lifted from a play. The first time I heard the second single that went to #6 in the UK, “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” was on the DJ Andy Smith’s Document II mix album. The dramatic ballad about an older man has a standout vocal from Kate in the chorus.

There are a few moments where the album does sound of its time such as the 70s arrangement on “James and the Cold Gun” and easy vibe of “L’amour Looks Something Like You”. The slick hi-hat percussion and male vocals in the chorus on “Oh To Be In Love” are used to great effect before the album closes with the excellent title track that sees Kate’s vocals soar.

The centre of the album is first single, “Wuthering Heights”. The video featuring Kate in a red dress, dancing in a field is a stunning visual. The song chronicles the Emily Bronte novel of the same name and is surely one of the most eccentric tracks to have ever reached #1 in the UK. The album followed the single up the charts later peaking at #3.  With several standout tracks, this is a solid debut album from the young star.

8/10

Posted in Album Reviews

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Reunions (2020)

81SJ6uD-9dL._AC_UY327_QL65_One of my big regrets from last year was not being able to see Jason Isbell when he came through Winnipeg last year. I also regret that I have not yet listened to his 2017 album with the 400 Unit, the well regarded Nashville Sound. The Nashville resident put out Reunions in mid-May which was preceded by three singles. The first of those, “Be Afraid” starts of murky but then a drum kicks before the track explodes in the chorus where Isbell let’s everyone know, “we won’t shut up and sing”.

First track “What’ve I Done to Help” is a powerful song about being saved and repeats the title throughout it’s seven minutes. “Dreamsicle” has a more country feel about a kid growing up in a rough situation and dreaming of leaving home when he’s 18. On “Only the Children”, Isbell sings that “heavens wasted on the dead” and about addiction on livelier “It Gets Easier”.

Several songs speak about family including “Overseas” that touches on the life of two parents/musicians.  With his demons always close at hand Isbell sings, “saw you in our daughter’s eyes last night when she caught me in a lie”. The album closes with a song for his daughter in “Letting You Go”. Isbell is full of contradictions both personally and musically. A country star (Reunions hit the top of the US country chart),  he is not afraid of speaking out about injustices on a must follow Twitter account. He’s funny and sentimental, cool yet nostalgic, country but rock. These contradictions help make for another fine release.

8.5/10