This album has been a long time coming, but Kate Bush has delivered a double CD that really is a game of two halves. The first CD called “A Sea of Honey” opens with the current single “King of the Mountain” which sounds very much like a Kate Bush track of old. From then on, the album takes a very different, more personal turn with Bush dumping the overblown production she’s used on previous albums and using a more intimate approach. “Pi” is a song of numbers which lays down some music themes that reappear on side two, “Bertie” is a song that only a mother could write for a son and the lyrically-ambigious “Mrs Bartloizzi” makes you wonder if this is a murder scene or someone just in the throes of domestic bliss? The next two songs “How to be Invisible” and “Joanni” aren’t as strong and didn’t have any real effect on me. The last track on the first CD “A Coral Room” concerns Bush’s mother’s death and I found it particularly moving when she started to mention the little brown jug. (My own late grandmother had a little brown just that was passed down and used to mention that same song too).

The second CD “A Sky of Honey” is a completely different beast and I found it a much more enjoyable journey. It is a concept piece dealing with the passage of time on a mid-summer’s afternoon as day turns to dusk to night and back to dawn again. Combine this with characters such as the Painter (played and sung by Rolf Harris – it was nice to hear him on this project) and a panoply of bird chorus and you have a sound painting of a time and space. Hearing Kate attempt to mimick the bird songs is a highlight and stand out track “Somewhere in Between” should be the next single. This CD is a full of warmth and humanity and was written by someone who obviously had the time to study a summer afternoon with depth. I love it.

The two CDs are very different, but I don’t think they would have worked without each other. They are two sides of the same coin and, for example, I don’t think that “A Sky of Honey” would have worked so well if it had been released on its own. I think this is a truly great record, full of soul and warmth, and is well worth falling in love with.

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