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Kate gets dark
on 1 May 2017
There is something quite dark and dreamy about this album. For many years I wondered what was going through Kate's mind when she penned this. This was one of the many stand out albums of 1980, not purely on musical merit alone, but because nothing else like it emerged that year. I'm not hating on other chicks who rocked the 80's, you had Pat Benatar or even Carly Simon who was writing some decent material still. But nothing like this.
Kate's vocals are reminiscent of the previous two albums, but you can almost sense change coming. Her high pitch bewitching vocals, would soon disappear in favour of a silky smooth yet powerful vocal style found on "The dreaming" right up to "The sensual world" in 1989. Listen carefully and you can hear signs of a transition. "Babooshka" is oddly satisfying, with the slow piano build up leading into a repetitive but almost sultry chorus. The music video to this freaked me out a little as a child. In fact many of her late 70's early 80's videos did, but I was too young to get it so what the hey. "Egypt" almost goes off into progressive rock territory, with it's alluring mysterious keyboard section.
"Delius" is again repetitive, but extremely satisfying. You can really get a grasp on these songs some how. I now know it was written about the great composer of the same name, she saw a film about it as a child which inspired the song. "Army dreamers" is beautiful almost dare I say folky. "Night scented stock" is a beautifully layered vocal piece, which seems to me came from a very, very dark place. Reminds me of haunted houses or scary cat ladies. "Violin" is crazy as hell, and "The wedding list" is catchy but I have to say not one of the strongest tracks on the album, never did understand why it had a music video shot for it. The final song "Breathing" is epic. At the end when the guitarist (Ian Bairnson I believe) comes in with those power chords, over a very dramatic coda, while Kate's shrieking the lyrics, left me wondering for a brief few seconds if Kate had just gone metal on us.
One of the catchiest, yet darkest releases of 1980. I mean just read up the back story to "Blow away (for Bill)" Kate wasn't in the best of moods. But this right here is the delightful pop genius of another era, I'm wondering if I will see innovating contemporary releases like this again in my life time. I always loved Kate's piano playing. I know she's not the most technical player, but her choice of notes and her skill at song craft far out weigh any of the musicians I've ever worked with.