It’s been almost 20 years since we’ve heard anything from the inimitable indie band Lush. Not since their split in 1998 following on from the tragic death of their drummer Chris Acland in 1996 they have lain dormant until now. So it was with much pleasure that I heard they would be putting on a gig at the London Roundhouse next May and then announced a further series of other gigs next year.
Addition to that is the release by 4AD record label of Chorus an anthology of their music in a five-CD set. It consists of their studio albums: Spooky (1992), Split (1994) and Lovelife (1996) and also a mini-album Scar (1989) plus EPs that were used in creating the compilations Gala (1990) and Topolino (1996). It also includes previously unreleased demos, radio sessions and other rarities, a treat for any fan (old and new alike), wrapped up in a hardbound book. Chorus doesn’t disappoint.
Lush’s career scanned over almost a decade starting in the late 1980s as indie kids (labelled as part of the so-called shoegazer scene) through to mid 1990s commercial success and competitors in the Britpop scene (a tag they were never completely happy with). They were formed by teenage friends Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson (originally called The Baby Machines after a line in a Siouxsie and the Banshees song Arabian Nights) and it was Deluxe that first hooked me around 1989/90 with it’s ethereal dream-like effect and video to boot: filmed in the woods in darkness, the band sat in a tree set-off with strobe lights and Miki’s punk-red hair (I had to hear more).
Scathing, witty lyrics are abundant through Lush’s career combined with feedback-drenched guitar. Miki’s voice is a both a mixture of sweet at times belying some pretty dark but razor-sharp lyrics (the Childcatcher) and I’ve Been Here Before (You and her in your sad little world, you can only exist with the help of a girl) and more hard-edged and “seen it all before” as confirmed in Ladykillers.
There is much to delight in this collection, including the pure brilliance of Etheriel with its swirling guitars and hypnotic essence through to the happy, car loving 500 (Shake Baby Shake) about a Fiat 500 (I can’t be with you, that’s why I’m at the railway station).
Almost twenty years is a long time, but it’s been well worth the wait.