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Arts

Album Review | Chamber Pop

Kate Bush’s ‘50 Words for Snow’

Fitting for a work called “50 Words for Snow,’’ Kate Bush’s 10th album moves with the velocity and grace of a glacier. Built around piano, Bush’s supple voice, and the faintest wash of drums, bass, and guitar, its seven songs sprawl over 65 minutes; it’s the kind of album Florence + the Machine could make with Antony and the Johnsons. It’s ostensibly a song cycle about snow, but it reaches beyond that to become an elegy for the human condition. “I was born in a cloud/ Now I am falling/ I want you to catch me,’’ Bush sings on “Snowflake,’’ the hymn-like opener. These songs lull you into a serene state of mind, so much so that the guests end up crashing the party. Elton John joins Bush for a mismatched duet on “Snowed in at Wheeler Street.’’ On the title track, actor/writer Stephen Fry leisurely recites 50 words for snow. “Come on, man, you got 44 to go,’’ Bush intones at one point, egging him on in a bit of comic relief. Those cameos aren’t exactly intrusive, but they do weigh down an album that’s otherwise content to drift as gently as the snow in question. (Out now)

JAMES REED

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