So in the early 90’s there were three important bands for me. The Cure, Cranes & Lush. All three of those bands had albums I could listen to on repeat and whom I would seek out bootleg recordings and attend their concerts at every opportunity, sometimes driving a few hours in order to do so. And I remember seeing them at Lollapalooza and the MC of the day coming on stage and proclaiming that this band was going to be around for a really long time like the Rolling Stones, which is funny since out of those three bands and even out of most of the bands on the bill that day, they’ve had the shortest life-span. Not to mention the thought of Lush as the golden girls kicking about onstage. My first time seeing them was in a small venue in Raleigh, NC with a horrible Flaming Lips (another band that has outlived and skyrocketed past them in popularity) as opener. It was the tour for Spooky, which loads of people seem to think is their best album and which incorrectly got them labeled as shoegaze over the years thanks to Robin Guthrie’s production. But overlooked at least in the US lodged between Spooky and Lovelife (the album that saw them transform into a straight up indie pop group) was this remarkable album Split. They started to shed the effects that Robin Guthrie painted them with and the songs took on more structure as opposed to just the wall of jangly guitars with high female voices cooing over them, It even had a few moments where they attempted to get back to their more punky side like ‘Blackout’. It was actually more in line with the Cure than with Cocteau Twins, Ride or Slowdive, the last three having never really made an impression on me although apparently whom every nu-gaze band worships along side of MBV. Much like those nu-gaze bands, to me what set Lush apart was that they weren’t just guitar sounds set to pop music, they actually had decent songs to go along with it. Seems they were always too ethereal for the rock fans and too rock for the ethereal fans but were just right for somebody like me.
So anyways, I haven’t really listened to Lush in a long while. Occassionally I’ll hear the song “For Love” someplace and think “oh”. But I saw something about them on the internets and decided to give it another spin. My conclusion is conflicted: The songs and the band are great, the production I can’t really get with. It’s not bad but it’s dated and sounds a bit lifeless. If it was blaring I could get into it but listening at a normal volume left a little to be desired. Little things like the guitars lack power, the drums are too far in the background, the bass could use a bit more low end or punch or something. It’s like I’m listening to a rough mix of an album as opposed to the real deal. To me I like every song on this album except for maybe Desire Lines & Never-Never and I don’t particularly dislike them, they actually remind me of rainy car rides in a white mitsubuishi mirage that has since left us. Maybe they tried to polish this one a bit too much, the production should have been closer to Lovelife and I think they thought it was too big of a jump to go from the Guthrie produced Spooky to a straight up alterna-rock album. Unfortunate. This is one of those album that I hope down the line will get snatched up in the wave of remastering and repackaging with b-sides old albums since nobody will buy the new ones craze. Having a decent version of Rupert the Bear would be cool as well since I think the only copy I’ve got of that is a Flexi-disc.