måndag 1 augusti 2022

Kate Bush - Lionheart (1978)

The anonymous second album

Only a measly nine months after the stellar debut was released, the second album was pushed out to the audience. Why the rush? I am sure the record company men wanted to make more money, but I can’t help but think that it was a tad too rushed. This note’s for you, Record Company Man. Bad!

Kate’s music is singular. This album is theatrical, autobiographical and even in one song quite erotic. I have a hard time to compare her to any other well-known artist. I may not have played this album that often, but it is such a delight to listen to it from start to finish at the time for this review.

Maybe it’s not so anonymous at all? Maybe it’s me, but I haven’t gotten a clear feeling for the record yet. The most important element is still here though. Kate’s voice is very much in the front of the mix and I do love her voice. We enjoy the high tone when she sings and get enthralled with her deeper throatier voice when she speaks (in the songs).

Themes and style from the first album “The kick inside” remain. The lyrics are influenced by literature and movies. And the lyrics are perhaps somewhat unexpected rather witty! 

The music is some sort of her own variant of vaudeville with songs that goes up and down in colour; sounds, tempo and different instruments. The quite funny song “Coffee homeground” is a very good example of the complex song structure Kate seems to prefer. The song is about a paranoid cab driver Kate met, who thought someone was trying to poison him. It’s crazy how Kate sings the song. She is enjoying herself!

The second song is “In search for Peter Pan”. Peter Pan in a song, that’s something! The picture of an astronaut searching for Peter Pan is dreamy and Bowie-esque. I love the piano, and as always, her voice.  The drums are also quite nice.

The third song, “Wow”, is the one I know best as it is on “The whole story” that I got before I truly understood Kate’s position as an artist. The singing on “Wow” is of course remarkable and well recognized.

I don’t love the fourth track “Don’t push your foot on the heartbrake” but I really like the drums. And I can appreciate how she goes for it with the singing. Powerful.

The ballad “Oh England my lionheart” is a nostalgic song about the old times. Music played only on the piano and the harpsichord. Baroque pop! Such an unusual mix of genres for a pop record. Listen on it with your headphones on.

The album cover is exciting! Kate as a lioness on a wooden box in an attic. And a lion’s head on the floor. I am not quite sure what to make out of it. A dream, a wish or just a mystery…

Turn over the LP, now it’s time for the second side. “Fullhouse” opens it up. A complex song that seems to tell an interesting story about paranoia and self-doubt. The feeling of the song is eerie, the piano in the background is making sound as out of a horror movie. Does Kate often meet herself in the rainy nights?

“In the warm room” is a simple ballad with Kate alone on the piano. The lyrics is grown up and as written to her male fans. It’s rather bewildering actually.

“Kashka from Baghdad” is a bittersweet song about two men in love. Written in 1976, before the debut album, as many songs from this album.

Hammer horror” rounds off the album. It’s an interesting song about an actor that replaces his actor friend in the lead role on the Hunchback of Notre Dame after the friend has died on set. The friend comes back and haunt the actor. Yet another very cinematic lyric.

This is of course not an anonymous album! Nevertheless it still feels like “minor Kate” to me. Seven of the ten songs were “old” songs, written before the debut album. They were leftovers, as a matter of fact. After “Lionheart” Kate got almost two years to make her third album, an album she also co-produced. This one is a part of her work, and as such it has its place in history, but there will come stronger albums down the road…

My rating: 6/10

Side A:
1. Symphony in blue
2. In search of Peter Pan
3. Wow
4. Don’t push your foot on the heartbrake
5. Oh England my lionheart

Side B:
1. Fullhouse
2. In the warm room
3. Kashka from Baghdad
4. Coffee homeground
5. Hammer horror

Best songs: “Wow”, “Oh England my lionheart”, “Coffee homeground”

Produced by: Andrew Powell

Released: November 13, 1978

Media: Remastered 180 gram vinyl, gatefold, reissued in 2018 (part of Remastered In Vinyl I)

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