Album: Kate Bush, Director's Cut (Fish People)

5.00

Despite its being comprised of reworked versions of songs that originally appeared around two decades ago, Kate Bush regards her Director's Cut as a new album in and of itself.

And she's right to: There's a consistency and homogeneity about the 11 tracks (seven from The Red Shoes, four from The Sensual World) which echoes her work on Aerial, and which lends the project a character entirely its own.

This is largely due to her re-doing all the lead vocals, which has imposed a warmer, more reflective tone on proceedings. The most striking change is on the closing "Rubberband Girl", where she sounds oddly muffled: the original stratospheric yelps are gone, along with Jeff Beck's flashy guitar, replaced by an understated harmonica groove that aims for more hypnotic impact – as too does "The Red Shoes" itself, whose mesmeric mandola groove is nudged along by softly pulsing drums. Ironically, though less flamboyantly abandoned, Kate's vocals here better evoke the sense of possession in the dance.

All the new versions are longer than the originals, some considerably: completely re-recorded, "This Woman's Work" has almost doubled in size in this new, more restrained form. Originally written for the film She's Having a Baby, and frequently used in TV dramas ever since, this, ethereal re-imagining untethers the song from those associations, allowing it to float free again. A similarly effective renovation has been done to "The Sensual World", here retitled "Flower of the Mountain": denied the use of Molly Bloom's soliloquy from Ulysses in the original, Bush was this time granted permission by James Joyce's estate, and the effect is remarkable. With her voice up close and intimate, the undulating repetitions are hypnotically gripping, as Uillean pipes dance with abandon about the gently puttering groove, caressed with string-pad synths: yes, yes! It's the most genuinely sensual music you'll hear this year.

Elsewhere, the computer love song "Deeper Understanding" profits from a less brittle, more lovingly cossetting arrangement, while the balance between Eric Clapton's guitar and the fluting keyboards and backing vocals of "And So Is Love" seems much more subtly resolved in this new incarnation. That song's underlying message ("We let it in, we give it out/ And in the end, what's it all about?/ It must be love") could stand as the motif for the album as a whole, which constitutes the latest of Kate Bush's series of investigations of the nature of love, both sexual and spiritual.

It's her forte, and it's a theme which she has learned to express in music as much as in lyrics. Even when suddenly blurting out "Don't want your bullshit, just want your sexuality" in "The Song of Solomon", the attention to texture in the arrangement of harp, piano, murmuring synth and Bulgarian backing vocal creates a delicate web strong enough to carry her demand without snapping the song in two. That combination of gentle touch and toughness is a rare gift indeed.

DOWNLOAD THIS Flower of the Mountain; This Woman's Work; The Red Shoes; Rubberband Girl; The Song of Solomon

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory