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on 16 August 2010
Musically and artistically, Kate Bush's fourth LP The Dreaming was a huge leap forward, an innovative, creative masterpiece that still stands today as one of pop music's most unusual and original works of free creativity. But commercially, it was a disappointment and provoked widespread confusion. Who was Kate Bush? What was this music? This isn't "Wuthering Heights" or "Wow," what is this? EMI had allowed her free rein on the record but now felt she may be best served by working with another producer.

Bush was resolute. She moved to the countryside and built a recording studio at her childhood home in Kent in 1983, intent on retaining creative control, but she herself recognised that if she could combine the bold creative experiments with a more accessible sensibility, she would strike gold. Her next project, 'Hounds of Love,' began in earnest in late 1983 and immediately revealed itself to be similarly creative but far more accessible than its predecessor.

In Under the Ivy: The Story of Kate Bush, Graeme Thomson points out how Bush and her long-time collaborator, bassist and engineer Del Palmer built and built on the original 1983 demos rather than using demos as reference points - so much of what we hear in the finished product originates as far back as then. It was a new way of working, as was her reliance on her home studio. 'The Dreaming' had been financially costly as Bush moved from studio to studio. Creating her own was expensive in itself, but a wise investment that meant she could record as and when she wanted and had no need to keep looking at the clock.

'Hounds of Love' is a joyous, upbeat record compared to the darker and more oppressive 'The Dreaming.' That's not to say it's always light and breezy. It is divided into two distinct sections. Side A, subtitled 'Hounds of Love,' consists of the first five songs - unrelated narratively, but all based around the theme of love and relationships. Side B, 'The Ninth Wave,' is a conceptual suite detailing the (mis)fortunes of a woman lost at sea, but where the worst prog rock is overblown and pretentious, this is beautiful and deeply moving.

The hits are on the first side - "Running Up That Hill" boasts a beguiling rhythm and a gorgeous, sad melody, "Hounds of Love" is spikier and more forceful with its propulsive drum beats, "The Big Sky" is a riotous party scene that builds and builds, and "Cloudbusting," with its beautiful string arrangement, is among Bush's most elegant songs. The way she sings the opening line "I still dream of Orgonon" is heart-breakingly clear and beautiful. The only non-single, "Mother Stands for Comfort," is one of the album's highlights, a sinister but achingly gorgeous spooky ballad.

It's on 'The Ninth Wave' where the experiments bloom. "And Dream of Sheep" is, like "Mother...," a plaintive, deceptively simple piano ballad that paves the way for the brittle menace of "Under Ice" and "Waking the Witch," the mood piece "Watching You Without Me" and the evocative "Jig of Life," a kind of extension of "Night of the Swallow" from 'The Dreaming' with its Irish arrangement. The suite also incorporates one of Bush's most bewitching ballads, the epic "Hello Earth," which opens the door for the redemptive joy of "The Morning Fog."

The two sides together amount to one of pop's landmark albums. The first five songs are among Bush's most accessible and direct and unfailingly melodic, while the music of 'The Ninth Wave' is clear, imaginative, and full of mood and emotion. The new vocal depth and richness of 'The Dreaming' is in full force on 'Hounds of Love.' She spent a long time perfecting her lead vocals and the hard work pays off, because Bush the singer shines throughout. Compare a vocal on something like "Cloudbusting" or "Hello Earth" to her earliest work and you will be astounded at the development.

It's rightly hailed as a classic and it's one that deserves all the praise.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 November 2005
Hounds of Love is, almost certainly, my favourite album. Obviously, this accolade changes quite frequently but if it were juged by frequency of time spent at the top of my list, this would definitely win. So for the majority of the time, yes,this is my favourite album.
Bush is an innovator, a true original, a flat out brilliant musician. That's all there is to it really. From the excellent opening track, the classic Running Up That Hill with its incessant beat, to the slow and gently haunting And Dream of Sheep, this album is the most cohesive and also the most constantly different and listen-to-able one that I own. The track Hounds of Love is an absolute classic, the electric, ethereal Waking the Witch is hugely underrated, and Jig of Life , with its violins and strained lyrics is brilliant. Favourite track? Cloudbusting. There are times when this easily stands at the top of my "best songs ever" list.
Hounds of Love is an album you absolutely must have. Like Aerial, it's a brilliant dual album: a series of unrelated songs followed by a series of linked ones. It's without a doubt her best work (followed quickly by The Kick Inside and the newly released Aerial, I think).It's necessary listening.
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on 20 June 2006
No two ways about it; this is KB's Magnum Opus. No skippers on this one. Every track is audacious. Side 1; all present and correct (including the masterpiece "Running up that Hill" - listen to the extended version). But it is the complexity, density of sound and the dark, impassioned power of side 2's "the Ninth Wave" which is the more deeply affecting of this two parter. For me, there is something in the nightmarish, no-man's-land dreamscape that is reminiscent of the hellish world of a Paul Bowles novel. Listening to 'the Ninth Wave' is like being caught in the eye of a storm; simultaneously euphoric and terrifying.

The production is skillful indeed. The textures she achieves are extraordinary; the swooping mood and tempo changes echo the slipping in and out of consciousness experienced by the drowning child; the vocal distortions on "Waking the Witch" - a truly chilling piece of music - and the sublime Nosferatu-inspired choir of subterranean voices of "Hello Earth". Finally, the joyful yet tender valedictory of "the Morning Fog" is enough to bring a tear to your eye. You need to be in emotionally robust mood to listen to "the Ninth Wave" in one go but listen to it in one go you must.

This is Kate Bush's most coherent and dramatically sustained piece of work. It is up there with all the greats. Its magnificence will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
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on 16 July 2007
Starting with a bang, the first five tracks of Kate Bush's fifth studio album are anthemic and catchy, 'Running Up That Hill' embodying a sexual energy greater than merely that alluded to by the lyrics, and the title track 'Hounds of Love' a fast-paced dash, a commentary on a hunt abstracted to an act more spiritual than only the chasing of a fox by hounds, before the regimented, march-like rhythm of 'Cloudbusting' arrives.

The change to lightly accompanied singing with the next few tracks is welcome, particularly in the dangerous and understated sense of fear conveyed by 'Under Ice', foreshadowing a darker tone to come.

The supernatural feel that the album takes on with the eighth track 'Waking the Witch' is disturbing with its demonic utterances and, by the time that the over-the-top and Celtic 'Jig of Life' cuts in, the high mood of the first tracks has been wholly altered to something confusing and nightmarish.

However, this is the point. The album Hounds of Love is a journey, and well captures a sense of mood progression, which the penultimate, dramatic track 'Hello Earth' triumphantly concludes.

The final song, 'The Morning Fog'? That's the come down, of course.
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on 25 November 2011
Kate Bush created this album in two parts as it was the last of the concept albums built for vinyl. The first side is Kate at her mainstream best from the gender envy of "Running up that hill" to the almost anthem like "Cloud busting". But then you slide into the dream of drowning - the second side - separately named "the ninth wave" after a Tennyson poem. Water being the connecting theme of this series of songs - The stream starts dark and gets darker until the turning point of a "jig of life" representing the fight for life which then moves into "Hello earth" which is a stunning soundscape evoking the power of a storm at sea and a God like view of the world from space.

In my view it is a stunning mix of ethereal haunting visions and mainstream hits.

If you hadn't already guessed...I love this album - a complex album not for everyone but if you have ever liked a Kate Bush song then definitely for you.

Find some time in solitude, turn off the lights, play this album loud and watch the rain drops slide down the window pane and you will be in her world.
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on 12 July 2002
Very rarely an album comes along that stops a person's world, makes them want to sit down and rejoice in the brilliance of a writers talent and sheer musical ability.
When I first bought this album on its release I rushed home and put it on. I stood there confused and somewhat slightly dazed.
What happened? What was she up to? Where was the Kate I knew and loved?
She was there but she had grown up and had produced the most dramatic and visual (yes visual) piece of music EVER.
The 7-track second half - 'The Ninth Wave' is a story of a woman in a boat contemplating the concept of drowning. Don't sleep or you'll die. But she does and from the wish to lay back and 'Dream of Sheep' to the sweet 'Morning Fog' of rescue, you know that for ever more you will be a Kate fan.
Buy it - regardless of who you are!
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on 28 March 2005
So Hounds Of Love is rubbish is it?...ok, well I agree that Joni Mitchell is a great talent and has produced some amazing work- she edges Kate out in the prolific output stakes, and is arguably the most influential female singer/songwriter ever...but Kate Bush is more than just a singer/songwriter....she rejected that tag very early on, and has more in common with the avant-garde, leftfield pop and experimentalism of, say, Steely Dan, David Sylvian, XTC, even Captain Beefheart...and Hounds Of Love is arguably the pinnacle of that experimentalism, although I personally rate The Dreaming above it for passion and intensity. Accusations of pretentiousness can easily be dismissed because this woman (more than virtually anyone else I can think of) has never done anything she did not believe in 100%, so no tired posing or fakeness or derivative b*****hit here- she is so challenging because she is so in your face with her convictions...if your poor weak heart can't handle it go and buy a Norah Jones CD instead.
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2005's 'Ariel' divided the critics.

With such a long gap between 1993's 'The Red Shoes' and her most recent excursion
it was perhaps inevitable that responses would blow both hot and cold.

I still havn't made up my mind nearly three years on.

Ms Bush's inconsistancies have a long history but The Wolf has always kept
a warm space in his heart for life's true mavericks.

With the release in 1985 of 'Hounds Of Love' however we discover what is probably her most coherant and consistant work.

From the pulsing opening bars of 'Running Up That Hill';
though the cinematic landscapes of 'Hounds Of Love' and 'The Big Sky';
via the more reflective 'Mother Stands For Comfort';
to the exstatic, otherworldly march of 'Cloudbusting', we find Ms Bush
utterly confident and in control of all aspects of composition, performance and production.

The song-cycle 'The Ninth Wave' forming the second part of this remarkable
album is a deeply affecting and perceptive series of subjective reflections about sleep and dreaming.
It is the stuff of true nightmares.
The shifting claustrophobic moods of suffocation, fear and uncertainty are brilliantly
and disturbingly evoked in music of dark and elusive subtelty.

As with all truly great music the album retains a timeless, genre-bending, quality.

Her muse was never more sharply honed than this.
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on 3 August 2011
It does not matter when this album was released....to me it is better now than it was then! Why? With everything else that is out there today it is easy to appreciate good music and good songs...and a terrific voice.Excellent from start to finish.
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on 19 March 2007
If you were to buy this album on the hype it recieves and the fact that it is often cited as a classic album then you may be dissapointed. I know I was when I first heard it. I loved 'Wuthering Heights' and my real introduction to her music through 'Aerial' was an enchanting intitiation. But I felt that 'Hounds Of Love' was too busy and preposterous and I wondered why people held it in such high asteem. Then one day, as a lot of music does, 'Cloudbusting' unconsciously entered into my thoughts and I couldn't get it out again and all of a sudden the album didn't seem busy but big and vast and fathomless. And what had once seemed preposterous seemed actually very clever. In short, this is very much of a mood album. Kate goes for a mood and she creates it with skill and passion. The first side has four gloriously big pop songs on it and 'Mother Stands for Comfort' which although is a dissapointing song comes as a welcome respite after the intensity of 'The Big Sky'. The suite on Side Two is essential for it's breathtaking ambition and realisation. 'Hello Earth' with it's eery male voice choir voices is a standout. A damn fine album. Possibly her best.
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