Jack Cullen

Kate Bush's new single Wild Man: a review

Our not-quite-certified-insane contributor Jack Cullen gives Kate Bush an ear

Today we were all treated by Radio 2 to our first listen of Kate Bush’s new song Wild Man, taken from her soon-to-be-released album 50 Words For Snow. If you missed it on Radio 2 you can have a listen here on this odd Tumblr blog that has stolen its name off a Bjork song:

Wild Man by Kate Bush

Whereas Kate’s last proper album Aerial kicked off with a summery bird chorus, Wild Man’s intro takes the cold windy sounds of a tundra-like landscape, not unlike her song Lily (on The Red Shoes). But despite these wintry infusions Wild Man actually strikes me as quite a warm and layered song.

Like a medieval court dance taking place in a provincial Chinese restaurant, we are then taken for the chorus into the kitchens where wild imperative food orders and tea spoon duets ensue atop an array of historic string instruments.

Kate’s vocal is largely subdued here, bordering upon spoken word, it’s more like one of Marianne Faithfull’s efforts or one of Tina Turner’s eroticised speech segments. Perhaps it is time to admit to ourselves that the wild, sassy, shipwrecking power of Kate’s voice in the 1980s and early 1990s is now gone for good.

I’m too sleepy to work out the lyrics just yet, but on a first listen I think I heard “In the Lego hills of Shanghai we found footprints in the snow from Jedward’s days in Matalan and Jimmy’s sacrilege. You’re a big brown monkey”

With mental cooperation on the listener’s part and an already concreted love for Kate Bush Wild Man is a welcome addition to her musical catalogue, a much longed-for step in the seemingly directionless spiral staircase of her wild and colourful drip-torture of a back catalogue.

For the unaccustomed listener Wild Man sounds a bit like the soundtrack to one of those animated parables in one of those unattended Baptist churches, or perhaps the song will evoke musty memories of a young adolescence spent in one of those shops that sells gemstones, joss-sticks, plastic barbed-wire-effect bracelets and knitted rainbow hats.

Like King of the Mountain before it, Wild Man is most probably a misleading appetiser to the forthcoming album 50 Words For Snow, and will be far surpassed by the other as-of-now unheard tracks.

The single Wild Man by Kate Bush is released tomorrow, you can get it here.

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