I can't tell if I got a dodgy copy or not, or if my speakers have finally carked it (last time it was Radiohead's Karma Police that did it, this time it could be that damn Wynton Marsalis Trumpet!!!), because Flower of the Mountain (aka Sensual World), which is the opening track to Kate's faux new CD, sounded really muddy and the bass notes were booming to the point of detuned static. Track 2 - Song of Solomon didn't fare much better ... but the sound quality hit its strides on Track 3 - Lily.
I could at least crank the volume at this stage without inducing an angina attack of the crackly variety. In fact, you pretty much have to turn it up to 11 in order to fully experience this CD. Lily has in fact put my fears to rest. I never liked the song when it was first released, but I love it now. So this revisionist jag is starting to look up. But the sound quality is still niggling away like a mild case of tinnitus.
I still don't understand why she eked out the ending of Deeper Understanding ... surely not simply to coddle atmosphere from a few slightly ho-hum harmonica riffs, (I have made peace with the auto-tuned effects), but Red Shoes, Moments of Pleasure and Top of the City certainly benefit from Kate's determined upgrade. That 80s Linn Drum sound is kept totally in check at least ... which is a good thing in my books.
This Woman's Work is going to polarise things a bit. Many, myself included, agree that the original was perfection. The update could sit easily on Tori Amos "Strange Little Girls" covers album. And I can't decide whether this is a good thing or not. I think the new version loses a little of the pathos of the original, but there's a hypnotic quality that I quite enjoy.
I've always liked Never Be Mine, and the new version does clear up the original production a bit, but its a little prosaic ... and there's that fretless bass again! I can see Stevie Nicks covering this one (again, not sure if that is a good thing or not).
And so is love still does nothing for me ... and the lo-fi blues treatment that Rubberband Girl gets denies the track its frenetic quest for pliability. All in all, its not the album to recommend first timers, but this is an artist that will always excite, thrill and aggravate. And thats better than most of the antipathic whitebread crap that spews across the airwaves these days.
Also, I'm glad that The Red Shoes was remastered (but why not Sensual World I wonder) because it always had an annoyingly tinny sound. It still remains my least favourite of all of Kate Bush's wierd and wonderful cannon, although I am dissappointed that she did not revise You're the One I want. Lets give this one a 7 out of 10.