The similarities between Amy X Neuburg and Kate Bush are numerous, although Neuburg tends to be wittier. They were at their strongest in her early years. This album collects songs recorded between 1985 and 1991, presented in backward chronology. The music consists of multi-layered synthesizers (including drum programming) and vocals, all by Neuburg, with the exception of a few guitar takes by Herb Heinz. There can be as much as six Amys singing at the same time, and that's where most of the charm of her songs resides. The woman has a beautiful pop voice, seductive and tricky. Lyrics speak mostly of personal relationships, stressing the need for fantasy and freedom. The all-synth instrumentation evokes at times the worst days of synth pop, especially tracks from the mid-'80s. The vocals keep things interesting, although "Get You Out" has aged too badly to be salvaged (unnerving fast-paced beatbox). The more accomplished songs come first: "Safe Love," "Take Your Eyes Out," "In a Vacuum," where you find the creativity of Kate Bush circa Never for Ever intact. More pop and linear than her albums with her group Men, Songs 91 to 85 fills in the details of her apprenticeship, but it is not an essential item.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture