After the fanfare of the reissue of two CD and four vinyl Kate Bush Remastered boxsets last November, as well as separate remastered versions of every album, Kate Bush now releases The Other Sides B-sides and rarities compilation as a 4CD set.

This material was already available within the Kate Bush Remastered CD Box 2, which may trigger a few grumbles from completists who bought that pricey set purely to obtain it. Yet more casual Bush fans will find plenty here to treasure.

The first CD offers 12″ remixes of Bush hymns such as Running Up That Hill, The Big Sky and Hounds Of Love, but it’s the two CDs of non-chronological B-sides that inevitably intrigue. She has always been about quality control, but it’s hard to believe that these gems were mere flip-sides.

You Want Alchemy, the B-side to 1994’s The Red Shoes, is a breathy reverie, a delirious exhalation of joy. Under The Ivy, which backed Running Up That Hill, is a fragile piano-led meditation. Cloudbusting B-side Burning Bridge is a fever dream lifted by choral voices.

Verging on the twee, 1993’s Home For Christmas is a shoo-in for an anaemic cover on the next Yuletide John Lewis advert, should their evil marketing bods catch wind of it. It’s a rare Bush misstep: far more typical is Passing Through Air, a crystalline meditation that was the flip to Army Dreamers.

The final CD gathers covers: a husky sigh through Elton John’s Rocket Man, a charged murmur of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, plus folky ruminations (always her first love) and Irish airs and rebel songs. Bush can even make Elton’s much-mocked Candle In The Wind sound poetic and profound rather than the sentimental hogwash it truly is: she simply inhabits the song, as she inhabits all that she sings. Tremendous.

Rating: 9/10
Ian Gittins

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