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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)



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