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Kate Bush

Never for Ever (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

The third studio album from Kate Bush, I tend to feel this was the one where her sound started to move into more dramatic and cinematic territory. This seems like a building block toward the type of sound that was dominant on the Hounds of Love. I'd consider this to be one of my favorites from her catalog, really.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Side A
                
Babooshka

Piano starts this. The arrangement gets some other electronics in the mix, creating the backdrop for the vocals. This is a bouncy number that works well. It gets into more of a rocking jam from there. It has some jazzy elements and plenty of playful art rock sound. The sounds of glass breaking emerge at the end of this.

Delius (Song of Summer)
The sounds that ended the previous number run like a river into the beginning of this. A percussive element a bit like a clock emerges and piano comes over the top of that as the song develops. This is very artsy in a lot of ways. It's also so classy.
Blow Away (For Bill)
Piano and stand-up bass combine to create a jazzy, balladic arrangement. This evolves, getting a bit bouncy at times as it does. It's another tasty cut.
All We Ever Look For
Piano is again the first instrument here. The cut works out to a rather bouncy arrangement as it continues. This gets more experimental and creative in its arrangements. This really seems like a pretty direct precursor to the magic of Hounds of Love. There are some jazzy elements here, It drops back to sound effects and mellower music for a time. Then it powers back upward from there.
Egypt
Piano and some other instrumentation create an unusual tapestry to get this track underway. This works forward from there with so much class and style. It's a powerful and very artsy song. In fact, I'd consider this to be one of my favorite pieces from Bush. It works out to some decidedly progressive rock based things as the instrumental section works through. This is another that really feels like it was a big part of the development toward Bush's masterpiece.
Side B
                    
The Wedding List

Bush's voice is the first sound on this number. The instruments bring a bouncing sort of arrangement. This is catchy and fun as it gets going. It drops to mellower zones for the second vocal movement. Classical music mixes with spacey stuff as it does. Then it drives out to a playful, rather jazzy zones from there. This works forward by developing those various sections. This is another piece of art rock magic.

Violin
This one stomps in out of the gate. There is a bit of a punky, new wave angle and energy to it. Yet, it's still trademark Kate Bush art music. There is a shift out to driving hard rocking sound in an instrumental break later. It remains crazed and driving for the final vocals.
The Infant Kiss
Piano brings this in, bringing some serious contrast to the set after the fury of the previous piece. This grows in gradually in a decidedly artsy way from there. It has more bouncy energy for the bulk of the song, but dissolves into more sedate art sounds to end.
Night Scented Stock

This cut is a short one composed mainly of layers of non-lyrical vocals.

Army Dreamers
I dig the guitar and harpsichord interplay here. The other instruments also bring some magic. This is an intriguing, more stripped back and mellower, song that is packed full of artsy angles. It's also catchy.
Breathing
This tune begins with piano and Kate Bush's vocals. Some of the vocal lines here make me think of music from Hounds of Love. It works to some cool, spacey artsy texture for a time. From there it powers out into some driving, rocking Pink Floyd like sound to continue. After the climax of that, there are just some smatterings of instruments here and there until it's over.

 

 
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