The first you notice about the second album in a year from the reclusive Kate Bush is how different it is. This though is a real ‘new’ album which is much slower with deeper sounds. It’s the sort of music that lets you slip effortlessly into a book and guide through the pages. ‘Snowflake’ is a mammoth track that opens the proceedings with a delightful piano playing a central role behind Kate’s unmistakable vocals.This album’s best feature is its minimalist use of instruments but those used are to great effect. The depth is greater and every note of the piano is so crystal clear like an icicle. ‘Lake Tahoe’ is described as a heavenly place to visit and with the configuration of the backing vocals you can picture angels supporting her. ‘Misty’ is much more earthly sounding affair than the previous two tracks with more technological instrumentation accompanying the now familiar ivories. As the song progresses to its finale so does the urgency of the song. It’s possibly the first time in half an hour of the album’s start that she lets loose with her voice.
This leads nicely into the standout track ‘Wild Man‘, the most radio friendly of all the tracks on this album ‘50 Words For Snow‘. “Echoing around the mountain side” she sings and you imagine she does during this song. Her whispering vocals slide beautifully over the backing trance like rhythm. This song also really does include a proper chorus as such which is not that dissimilar to ‘Cloudbursting‘ from the ground breaking ‘Hounds Of Love‘ album from 1985.
After her exerts of the previous track, she reverts to the softer overtones of earlier tracks. ‘Snowed In At Wheeler Street’ is another duet with Sir Elton John which sounds brilliant. This song lends itself to their distinct vocals as there are words a plenty on this song and before you know it eight minutes have soon passed. Whilst next up is the title track of the album a song which is driven by Steven Gadd’s almost tribal drumming and is topped off eloquently by Stephen Fry’s enchanting recital. If you ever needed a man’s voice to drift over and grab you then he’s the man for it; with his hushed English private schooled overtones.
The album concludes with ‘Among Angels’ and is probably the most sparse song which seems to give the impression Winter’s losing it’s grip and Spring is trying to flourish. Kate’s vocals certainly do with possibly her best vocal delivery of the album. This woman’s work is definitely not finished and all in all ‘50 Words For Snow‘ has brought her again back to the high table of British musicians. But being her she’ll soon just as quickly disappear back from the limelight as she likes it at home by the Thames. A classic album by her 9 out 10.