Kate Bush – The Sensual World

Following up its excellent remaster of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray turn in another winner with this new version of The Sensual World, the subsequent album in the singer’s catalog. While it didn’t enjoy as much commercial success, the effort stands as more of a severe creative undertaking, seeing Bush took four years to complete it.

By the time the album was finally released in 1989, CD was in full force and LPs had all but disappeared from record-store shelves. The original pressing possesses a big, punchy, highly processed sound that was all the rage in the late 80s, with plenty of strings and synthesizers in the mix. Cleaning up most of the grunge, Audio Fidelity’s edition takes it all a step further: Added dimensionality gives the music and production the feel of coming across like a good surround sound mix that, of course, you only need two channels to hear.

A slight bit of glare in the high frequencies suggests that this record may have been originally recorded on a digital tape recorder. This effect is much less noticeable here than on the original pressing, but The Sensual World is not as sultry-sounding as the Hounds of Love reissue. Still, the massive amount of low-frequency energy handily surpasses that on the original, lending real weight to the synth bass lines present on a majority of tracks. And, David Gilmour’s guitar solo on “Rocket’s Tail” claims more energy than the original.

The Sensual World is a worthwhile addition to any totally 80s collection, and while it doesn’t contribute to the sound quality, the label did a phenomenal job of reprinting the cover art. With so many $50 reissues cutting corners on jacket presentation, it’s nice to see packaging given due respect and the price held in line at $29.95.  -Jeff Dorgay

Audio Fidelity, 180g LP