I seem to remember my family having a copy of her first two albums when I was about five. Twenty two years ago. I think the only reason we had them was because a family friend wanted my mum to hear the poetry Ms Bush was writing. (At that time Kick Inside and Lionheart had been out for about 3 years). I was allowed to play them in the morning to stop me waking my parents up too early. Even then I loved the sound of her voice. At that age I couldn't always hear what she was singing but that didn't matter. It was the soul she put into her sound that I heard.
Fast forward thirteen years. We had lost the albums, then I heard an interview with Kate Bush on the radio about the making of Hounds Of Love. On the strength of the clips that were played, I bought the album. Then I bought her first two and the memory of their joy all came back.
However, after buying all of her back catalogue, I enjoy The Sensual World more than the rest. Believe me, I have tried.
It isn't dazzling, very ground breaking, commercial, well received, as smokin' as Kick Inside, or relentlessly original as Hounds Of Love, but there's a calm intimacy that I haven't heard anywhere else. There are a few messy songs like Love And Anger, or Between A Man And A Woman where there's a lot going on and it feels too much with the production set up for the album, but I'm nit picking really.
The other reviews I've read for this album say it's over produced, but I say she got it smack on. You feel like you're in an underground cave and the music comes to the listener across a small pool. The way the album was engineered sounds like she's sat next to you but there's a huge, deep feel to everything. A good example is The Fog and Deeper Understanding. The lyrics are at times heartbreaking, simple, very intimate, exhaultary and descriptive. The melodies they are sung with are quite simple compared to her other releases, but this is the strength of the album. The whole point. It is about quiet reflection, even in the angrier moments, but done in such a way as to sound boundless. It's not as dementedly exuberant as her other albums, but I say she does "quiet" just as well.
In the radio interview that prompted me to buy Hounds Of Love, Kate said that she was very angry during the recording of The Dreaming, and still during Hounds Of Love. You can hear that respectively, the drive and dark restless humour. There is still anger present in The Sensual World, but mellowed enough not to overtake the other aspects of the music. Just enough bite to make it all tick over with the myriad of instruments and vocals.
The best musical hug and reassurance I could have wished for.