One Track Mind: Johanna and the Dusty Floor, “Cloudbusting” (2011)

Photo by Jessie Sara English

Kate Bush didn’t make much of a stateside splash, despite achieving fame 25 years ago in Britain. So remakes like this one from Johanna and the Dusty Floor, brilliant though they may be, likely resonate with most listeners as if they were brand new.

It helps that the Brooklyn-based Cranitch, an Australian-born and Hungarian-bred singer-songwriter and pianist, has crafted a dream-pop debut in Northern Lights of hypnotic, almost weightless beauty — all airy keyboard lines and stirring orchestral flourishes. But, for those who remember this tune as a Top 20 UK hit from Bush’s mid-1980s album Hounds of Love, Cranitch’s vocal also shares Bush’s precious melancholy, an important element to pulling this off.

She doesn’t mimic Bush, though, so much as reshape “Cloudbusting” away from its towering strings and rumbling rhythms into a quieter, piano-based piece. Yet (and this is the magic of it) the song — about the bond between a boy and his misunderstood inventor father — still thrums with the kind of chest-splitting love that lasts past disappointments, the kind of love that transcends time itself: “I just know,” Cranitch sings, “that something good is going to happen.”

Powerful moments like this from Northern Lights, newly issued by Red Valise, make that line seem more than a little prophetic for Johanna and the Dusty Floor.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.