To follow on from her brilliant 1978 debut album, The Kick Inside, and it's immediate (if overly similar) successor Lionheart, was always going to be a difficult task for Kate Bush. She knew there was a need for a completely different look and feel to her music, consequently borne out expertly via her introduction to the Fairlight synth, with delicate sampling and synthesised sound-sculpting utilised in perfect proportion with a variety of new and unusual instruments throughout Never For Ever (1980). The album begins with the perfect opening vehicle for Bush, the drama-pop of Babooshka, and from thereon in she takes us on a joyous and meandering ride through her New World of musical soundscapes, with the quality control never diminishing on a single track. From the chilling Infant Kiss, the poppy Wedding List and the Celtic-tinged Army Dreamers to the brilliant hard-rocker Violin and the haunting Breathing, Bush collates an unbelievable array of moods and styles and produced the one of the most startlingly original albums of the 1980's. You can see that an immense amount of thought has gone into this album, and Never For Ever saw the beginnings of Bush's fastidious attention to detail and dedication to total perfection on each and every component of every track. It may lack the tight cohesion of her brilliant Hounds of Love outing, but perhaps it is all the better for it. In fact it is one of those rare albums where you you invariably hear something new upon each hearing. This is certainly one of Kate Bush's finest moments and to this day, no female artist (ie, the likes of PJ Harvey, Bjork and Tori Amos) has come anywhere close to her brilliantly original creativity which was always years ahead of its time (in fact they are all excessively glum or precosciously obscure). Never For Ever is a timeless piece of work from one of our quiet and unassuming national treasures.