Single Of The Week 23/06/99

Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.

Experiment IV
Kate Bush

Kate Bush fans are patient people. We have to be. Ms Bush has a policy of taking longer and longer between each album: The Kick Inside (1978), Lionheart (1978), Never For Ever (1980), The Dreaming (1982), Hounds Of Love (1985), The Sensual World (1989) and The Red Shoes (1993). Only The Whole Story (1986) breaks this sequence, and as a greatest hits compilation, that hardly counts.

The only solace available to Kate watchers during these gaps are the occasional singles that pop up in between projects, normally as part of someone else's album or work. Hence we get 'The Man I Love' from a Gershwin tribute album, or 'Rocket Man' from the Elton John/Bernie Taupin compilation Two Rooms. 'Experiment IV', which is the only new song to feature on The Whole Story, falls into this category. A haunting tale of a military experiment in killing with sound that goes rather wrong, it demonstrates (if it still needed demonstrating) that by 1986 Kate had moved a long way from the piano-with-vocals sound so many people associate her with.

Equally notable is the song's video, for which Kate took the director's chair. In a remarkable show of no ego, she minimised her own appearance in the clip, instead drawing straight dramatic performances from noted comedy actors Dawn French and Hugh Laurie. It's worth owning the Whole Story video compilation for this clip alone.

The B-side is also of interest, a re-recording of 'Wuthering Heights' (up there with 'Babooshka' and 'Running Up That Hill' as her most famous track). This replaces the original's eerie, high-pitched vocal with one set down a couple of registers. What the song loses in stark drama it gains in subtlety. It's well worth a listen, but then, so is most of Kate's stuff.

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