Now I’m sure this won’t come as shock to say I didn’t find this half as accessible as Never For Ever. It’s taken me a little while but I think I’ve made as much progress as I can, and I can share what I thought.
Certainly it’s a mixed bag, the grizzly vocal technique she used several times does not really win me over. The themes are varied, I’ll go one-by-one but either I’m misunderstanding them or I’m a little confused as to where all these different themes come from. That’s BEFORE we go into the donkey noises…
(Originally posted March 2010)
09 Sat in your lap: Oh a great start though, a rather modern beat in there, reminds me of something off Bjork’s Medulla. She seems a little frustrated, I can sort of relate to it. I really can’t get enough of the “GIMME it Quuuick, Gimme it gimme gimme gimme gimme”. It’s all a bit of a manic episode, vocals all over the place, and generally a bit AH HA HAAA. That outro is just amazing too, bizarre.
09 There goes a Tenner: OKAY REMEMBERRRR. Still operating at 90% mentalicity, a robbery scene with a Drusilla-esque accent and a difficult-to-follow vocal styling, just when you think you get what she’s on about she goes off on an UH OHH UH OHHH fit. I do quite like it though, it’s totally deranged but I don’t find my eyes darting around for the fire exit so I guess that’s something. Poor Kate ends up in Strangeways with a great sound effect beat that I will dub “circus strobe synth” for lack of any sane definition. Ooh look, A FIVERRR
07 Pull out the pin: Is this about Vietnam? I suppose that’s the sort of war I associate with grenades. I’m getting used to the idea that she is usually singing about the actual thing you’re thinking about, rather than metaphor like Tori tended to (or whatever the fuck she was about). There’s something that I like about this song, I think it’s well put-together but I hate the “I LOVE LIIIIFE” grizzly vocal that comes up here for the first time. To be honest I have lost track of what this is about, who is big and pink *car horn*?!
08 Suspended in Gaffa: Is that the Irish accent from Army Dreamers again? Hooray! It’s quite a gentle melody, especially when the rich orchestral bit kicks in for a spell after about 45 seconds. I don’t know what this is about, but does she mean Gaffa tape? In my head I just entertain myself for 3 minutes with images of Kate stuck in a spiderweb made of Gaffa tape. Pleasant song though.
05 Leave it open: No, not really feeling this one, just a bit too formless. I can’t understand a thing that’s going on, too many effects going on. Not really anything for me to grip onto musically either. Perks up a little towards the end, but I won’t miss this song.
08 The Dreaming: Oh oh don’t tell me, this is about AUSTRALIA. Before you can say “Rolf-a-roo” she’s mown down a kangaroo. Is this supposed to be totally respectful and serious?! I presume it’s about Aboriginals being displaced by miners looking for OOORRRE. I like it, but the ‘tribal singing’ does sound a bit like a piss-take. Mind you, Rolf Harris sounds a bit like this and he’s Australian so who knows!
07 Night of the Swallow: Sounds like an Agatha Christie novel. She’s a bit screechy again, with a Celtic tinge but this isn’t doing a lot for me. The chorus (?) shows some promise (i.e. an actual SONG) but it’s a little too late.
09 All the love: Very spooky and depressing, but like “Breathing” before it (in an infinitely less horrifying way) this is quite captivating. It’s a little hard to follow but I do love it, especially once it gets into the chorus. I’ll put this on my “moping around” playlist when I make one. Like the choral bits, but it’s really the “Goodbye. Bye!!. Toodle-oo etc” bit that I find so fascinating. I don’t know, there’s something really disarming about it and I don’t know why.
07 Houdini: Old screecher is back, and I’m pretty sure I finally worked out what it is on the cover art, that’s a key in her mouth , the same key that Houdini’s assistant (wife?) uses! Yes it took me a while… It’s an alright song, I guess he died at the end though 😦 and even so it’s not really that moving, just shrieking histrionics sadly. Nice touches in there though, musically.
09 Get out of my house: Ha! Well musically it’s finally back in a good place, though does rather de-rail when Kate starts shouting at the cat. She really doesn’t like those strangers though huh? GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!1!11!! Fucking hell, I drove past her house in Devon on a family holiday once, I wish I had known what she was like. But then she turns into a MULE. HE HAWWWWW. Totally insane and I can’t quite believe this has been committed to record. God I fucking hope she did one of her cheapo-mental videos when she was on day-release.
So .. um. Well not much I can say now that Kate has HE-HAAAWWED her way to the end of another album. It doesn’t compare favourably with the more palatable NFE but it’s not totally bereft of magic moments. It’s a shame the tunefulness of the first few tracks didn’t really translate to the rest of the album. Though I suppose it’s better than a really bland album isn’t it? There are plenty of people who could make a safe album, but very few who could get away with The Dreaming.
Keepers for the iPod: Sat in your lap, There goes a tenner, Suspended in Gaffa, All the love, Get out of my house (because, you know)