Studio Album by released in 2005
Aerial's tracklist:
King of the Mountain
Mrs. Bartolozzi
How to Be Invisible
A Coral Room
An Architect's Dream
The Painter's Link
Aerial Tal
Somewhere in Between

Aerial review

Kate Bush returns after a twelve-year absence with Aerial

Kate Bush returns after a twelve-year absence with Aerial. It's often said that a musician's debut represents the culmination of a lifetime's worth of experiences, but their sophomore effort is usually derived from just the intervening year. By waiting 12 years between The Red Shoes and her new album Kate Bush has tried to regain that lifetime. It's a remarkably coherent recording, reflecting the unique world of sound and spirit Bush has inhabited since her debut. The album runs only a hair over eighty minutes long, but is split more conceptually – it comes in two parts, A Sea Of Honey and A Sky Of Honey. The former is 7 songs, a paean to domestic bliss, to chores and children and Citizen Kane and Joan of Arc and Elvis. The latter is 9 songs and is a reflection on the passage of a day. Previous Bush’s albums have been filled with songs in which the extraordinary happened. Aerial, however, is packed with songs that make commonplace events sound extraordinary. It fits right in with her classic sound: rich, lush soundscapes enriched by Ms. Bush’s distinctive voice. The album was produced by Kate with engineering and mixing by longtime collaborator Del Palmer.

A Sea Of Honey and A Sky Of Honey

Certainly the material on the first part covers a lot of ground – Bush seems to pretty much pick up where she left off, although her arrangements show a downright stunning depth as instruments swirl in and out of the mix. Opener and leadoff single King of the Mountain is a good example both of this and of the best sort of Kate Bush pop song – it opens with electronic percussion and synths and eventually live drums joining to create a mid-tempo loping beat until the second verse where an electric guitar shows up and take the focus. The remainder of the disc proves amazingly diverse, treading through a resonator (steel) guitar-driven ballad about her son (the achingly sentimental Bertie), a driven, passionate piano piece about a house cleaner (Mrs. Bartolozzi), a funky pop song (How to Be Invisible) and a lovely, subdued piano ballad (A Coral Room), among others. That it maintains a high level of quality throughout is a testament to its creator. The second half of the album is definitely feels like a suite – the music is all very relaxed, with rolling piano lines, lush strings, and hand drums playing in and out. The piece is constructed with several songs and some briefer tracks that establish continuity of the pieces, and while musically it's less diverse than the first half, there are no fewer powerful moments from the delicate chords on the opening Prelude to the utterly superb Sunset, which opens as a jazz-tinged ballad before moving into a frantic Spanish guitar section complete with castanets to the simply fantastic Somewhere in Between.

Deeply personal album and a return from one of pop music's icons and vocal wonders

Kate duets with birds, invites Rolf Harris once again to play didgeridoo (23 years after he first did on The Dreaming), juxtaposes Michael Kamen’s ethereal, modernist strings with bluesy rock guitars and unhurried disco beats. She is still relevant because she doesn’t seek relevance – Kate Bush has always been external to trends, to the fluctuating verisimilitudes of popular culture. She has always operated within a world of her own creation, and that is why she will always be enticing, enlivening, fascinating. Embracing Kate’s relatively new motherhood, as well as the death of her mother, Aerial is a deeply personal album, and a welcome return from one of pop music's true icons and vocal wonders. Slow cooked and eagerly anticipated Aerial, a song-cycle about bliss mundane and ecstatic, familial and artistic, is a refuge for Kate’s fans. Her new music is mature and invigorating. Aerial is a magical, nostalgic musical ride that pushes the boundaries of songwriting and arrangement in the most rewarding fashion. Hopefully Kate is returning to the game, and we will hear more from her again.

Rate review4.90
Total votes - 183

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