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Kate Bush - Night of the Swallow CD (album) cover

NIGHT OF THE SWALLOW

Kate Bush

 

Crossover Prog

4.05 | 3 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is a surprising single when the nature of the songs is considered. But very pleasantly surprising, and extremely satisfying for those listeners who prefer artistic values and uncoventional details over catchiness and hit potential! Both tracks are taken from Kate Bush's fourth album The Dreaming (1982), which was her most adventurous and innovative work to date at that point. In fact all singles from that album are far from typical in the single market, whereas Never For Ever clearly had songs such as 'Babooshka' that are quite obvious choices for 7" releases.

'Night of the Swallow' is actually very representative of the album's deep and mysterious spirit. Kate's magnificent vocal performance carries the song that has almost cinematic power in its scenery. Apart from the strong chorus ("with a hired plane, with no names mentioned...") which is spiced up with folk instruments - there are Uillean pipes if I remember right, and isn't that instrument in her lap on the rather unclear cover picture? - the playing remains very delicate, making the vocals and lyrics the centre of all attention. The spellbinding atmosphere of this song is very English and "old" in a way. The arrangement is highly original and full of interesting details, such as the fast tap-tap-tap percussion pattern on the chorus.

All my praises above fit as well to the other song, 'Houdini'. Again, Kate takes you in the middle of the story, a scene, with a fin de siecle atmosphere. The inner movie behind your eyes could be black and white, or with a worn-out sepia tone. The sensual melodies are magical and the string arrangement makes the song simply a perfect piece of art. The cover of The Dreaming album refers to this song ("with a kiss I'd pass the key..."). I'm not sure how directly the lyrics follow the performance methods and fate of Harry Houdini, the famous chain king, but that's not important. The final minute or so is deeply moving, as if you had just seen a great film instead of only listening to a song. Eberhard Weber's bass is marvelous here. "...You, and I, and Rosabel, believe." Goosebumps!

The only thing to stop me rating this single with five stars is the fact that both songs are on the album. The Dreaming may not be this gorgeous all the time (in fact I don't like all tracks) but it's so unique entity that the separate single releases are a bit unnecessary.

Matti | 4/5 |

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