Lush - Chorus - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Lush - Chorus

by Jim Harris Rating:10 Release Date:2015-12-04

Simply put, Lush was one of my favorite bands for a few years. They popped onto the scene a little earlier than MBV, as I recall, and I was confused as to why they were lumped into the shoegazer category with their sound. I still don’t think their sound is remotely shoegaze. It’s dream-pop but I suppose that wasn’t a term way back there in the 90s.

What struck me as particularly engaging, especially on their second album, was just how much joyous energy they brought on stage and to the CD. And they had the look. A couple exotically cute females and one played a mean guitar.

They had it all. I was a huge Husker Du fan at the time that for some odd reason Lush reminded me of them.  Lush brought the same sheer volume, speed, and layering of guitars, wrapped around those sweet, almost California surf vocals, my God, I loved them. (It would be quite a few years later that I would learn that they were indeed fans of Husker Du, and even brought Bob Mould into the studio to produce their 2nd album.  The story goes that he didn’t get along with ‘the girls.’ So it goes.)  But they sounded nothing like MBV or that early period Jesus and Mary Chain.

I had high expectations for this band and I kept this love affair for them through their first three or so albums.  And I think they influenced more people than we might know.  I remember an interview with one of those dark, light-metal fru fru Goth Bands from somewhere here in the Midwest in the early 00s and recalling a comment on why they went in a particular musical direction.  ‘Well,” raven-haired young woman, all dressed in sparkly black with skull leggings drolly said, “We obviously aren’t good enough to do a Lush album.’  Interesting.  Also, Avril Lavigne ripped them off on a song and got sued as well several years after Lush disbanded.

But after that second album something happened to their sound.  Lush slowed everything down, went with a more minimal structure, mixed out the hypnotic higher-pitched angel choruses, and well, they became the band who cited them as a big influence, even though they started at about the same time:  The Cranberries.  But they weren’t the Cranberries.  Mixed down and more naked, the lead singer’s voice made Lush sound like a pub band playing Linda Thompson covers. 

I forgot all about them.

I don’t know if it’s the years, my tastes, or what, but the massive compilation of everything Lush, from all their albums, collections, Eps, Peel Sessions, that have been compiled in this brilliant box-set called Chorus, have reaffirmed to me just how influential and just damn musically brilliant this band was and who knows, might well continue to be.  All the later stuff, that went away from waves of frenetic guitar and Lush vocals, and into a more brit-pop vein sound vitally fresh and interesting.  Song’s like ‘Ladykillers’ and ‘Single Girl’ are far more listenable in retrospect.  I’m not going to bore you with song analysis or anything (There’s just too damn many here…)  But know that their early signature sound was loud, joyous, manic and enjoyable, and even after their drummer died of suicide and they disbanded, they still left an incredible body of work that shouldn’t be overlooked.  Easily the best box set in a very long time.

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