Stan Deely on Aeriel – A Sky of Honey
AERIAL – A SKY OF HONEY
I was fairly impressed with this album/song suite on the first few listens. I found it nice and relaxing. More acoustic and piano-y than a lot of her work. Then I started to get a bit bored with its pastoralism and thought it’s a bit boring and tasteful for my liking.
Midway through reviewing I went to see my childhood idols Gang of Four play live and they were amazing. Since then I have been on a bit of a post punk jag and this album doesn’t really fit it with where I’m at at the moment but I have bit my lip and given it a few more plays – just to get it finished with.
I think I’m going to give the Directors Cut a swerve and review 50 Words for Snow before the end of the year. As Dave Amitri will attest immersing oneself in one artist’s work one album a month can seriously impair one’s enjoyment of their work.
PRELUDE and PROLOGUE
After a brief intro from a child’s voice we have Kate on solo piano and background hum. A soundscape. Nice four chord descending refrain. Kate’s voice sounds great in the unadorned, setting. Not much happens but is has time to breathe. Gets quite hypnotic. Sets the tone for what is to come. Wtth a minute to go, we have some drums. Not sure it needed it. A good start.
AN ARCHITECTS DREAM
Continues the sad dreamy tone. A third person narrative describing a painter painting . The line ‘an architects dream’ describes what the observer feels about the painting rather than an overall description of what the song is about. Dreamy soundscape. Theres a bit of echo and reverb making the sound deep,warm and mellow. The music is largely static and variety comes from the vocals. Kate sounds very good here. She’s In command and able to hold the narrative.
THE PAINTERS LINK
More orchestra and piano. Very mid 1970’s vibe and then a short voice over by Rolf Harris playing the artist and then Kate. A link to the sunset. Pleasant enough –
At this point the punk rocker in me is starting to think “This is all getting a bit too pastoral for my liking” but she varies it up a bit. Still Kate’s piano upfront but features other instruments. Nimble bass and nice ensemble interplay. Describes the sunset. One could argue it’s a bit overlong. Ends with a kind of Irish mariachi style jig with hints of Spaghetti Western. It could almost be pastoral acid house and thiere more of this to come.
AERIAL TAL/SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN
Another full band piece describing watching the monents after sunset. Has a yearning kind lazy jazz vibe. Gary Brooker on organ and backing vocals – almost a duet. The song on this disc that sounds most like it could have fitted on the Sea of Honey disc. Reminds me a bit of Donald Fagen’s New Frontier. Possibly my favourite tune on a Sky of Honey. .
Describing skinny dipping in the sea at night. A soft dance track. Reminds me of the Beloved. A bit repetitive and meh but saved by Kate’s singing which is top notch as ever. I really like her singing on the last few albums. I think sometime around The Dreaming or Hounds of Love she found a register which enabled her to really emote. Quite a sexy song. As well as the Beloved, reminds me of the Queen of Chill out – Beth Orton and quite Pink Floydy as well. A bit overlong but she is like going for epic I think. Insistent groove ,a bit like some of the Hound of Love tunes. Someone could probably make a Madonna style dance remix album but I don’t think Kate would be into that. At then end she gets a bit over the top about the quality of the light in the morning. Begs a question? Is this her Sgt Pepper – her acid album?
Repetitive circular refrain almost Kraftwerkian and then a doof doof four to the floor takes over. Now we have the full on dance experience. The sense of urgency and even panic in her vocals recalls the drowning narrator on the Ninth Wave song suite. Sounds of laughter. Prog rock excelsis. Laughter and bird song recalls Pink Floyd One for the stoners? Not sure if that kind of culture goes on in todays streaming world. A bit of rawk guitar played by Danny McIntosh who does a passable imitation of Beck, Clapton etc.
Ends as it started with brid song. A prog rock journey. Gateway drug to this sort of thing. Stoner rock – Does this stil happen
9 songs in 42 minutes but really 3 of them are short interlude so we are talking about 6 in 38 For one raised on the Ramones and the Clash (and previous to that David Bowie and the Who the songs are bit long and self indulgent but the sound is pretty good baby
Have it taken me on a journey? Yes, I suppose but it felt a bit forced. I can see that others would really love this but it’s a bit too polished for me. I am yearning back to the sound of Never for Ever when there was more space in the music and it seemed less polished and quirkier.
Once again feel free to tell me what I am missing? Anyone see her do this live? And how did it come over? Should I listen to the live CD?. Does it illuminate or add much to the album experience?