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Countdown to Aerial 2: Lionheart

Would it really have been so bad if Kate had done the obvious thing and become a piano-driven singer-songwriter, churning out an album a year focusing on just the songs? Lionheart has gone down in history as one of Kate's lesser albums, a quickie intended to cash in on the success of The Kick Inside, released the same year. I disagree with history's verdict. It's true, I'll admit, that Kate's second record doesn't surprise the way her debut does, but on its own merits, it's a very strong album. There's no sense at all that the songs were mere leftovers from the previous batch - more likely they were deliberately kept in reserve.
The recording, arrangements and production seem more cohesive and focused than on The Kick Inside, and the finished product may well have benefited from a faster recording process. If you have good songwriting and no immediate ambition to try something completely new, you might as well cut down on the frills and get on with it.
Lionheart is one of the most worn-out records in my vinyl collection. I've mentioned this on the blog before; I've since managed to clean it up a bit and my copy's now quite listenable again.
The songs themselves? Sex, arsenic murder, secret homosexuality, the confusion of a child faced with the machinations of the adults around him, some more sex, piano, voice, some good banshee shrieks... business as usual. Slightly less twee in feel in the gentler numbers, more balanced in the harder ones. "Fullhouse", "Wow", "Hammer Horror" and "Don't Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake" alone make the record well worth buying. One like this a year from 1978 to 2005? I'd have bought every one of them. Highly Recommended, and no, I won't be saying that of every Kate album.

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