Bush

Golden State

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Like many bands of their era, Bush was sucked into the idea that rock bands are only relevant if they incorporate electronica ideas -- a move that sank their third album, The Science of Things, and effectively derailed their career at a crucial time when post-grunge bands were falling by the wayside in an alarming fashion. This caused Bush to stumble, not just artistically but commercially, and they faded from the mainstream spotlight for a few years before mounting a comeback in the fall of 2001 with Golden State. The simple cover art, looking for all the world like advance art, signals that this a return to basics, which it is -- this is a return to the sound of Sixteen Stone, complete with big, grandiose production propelled by ballsy grunge riffs and real hooks in the guitars and vocals. They never sound as somber or as self-conscious as they did on the Steve Albini-produced Razorblade Suitcase, nor do they sound as out of their element as they did on Science -- they sound comfortable and powerful, rocking hard, turning out songs that are not only catchy, but that hold together and cohere over the course of an album. Though there aren't singles as grabbing as the songs that propelled Sixteen Stone to multi-platinum status, this is as consistent an album as any Bush has ever made, keeping a steady pace throughout its 12 songs and delivering on almost every track. It doesn't sound hip or current in 2001 by any means -- it sounds charmingly retro, as a matter of fact, sorta stuck in 1994 -- but it's better than most records in its vein, and that counts for something even if it doesn't burn up the charts like its predecessors.

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