Blind Spot

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Reunions are a tricky thing, especially when a band's initial run ends in tragedy as Lush's did with the suicide of drummer Chris Acland in 1996. Even though the band was already in the process of splitting, his death made the breakup very conclusive and very poignant. Fast-forward almost 20 years and while almost every one of their contemporaries had already reunited in some fashion or another, the members of Lush seemed no closer to getting back together than they ever had been. Therefore, the reunion rumors and then confirmation of said rumors that happened in September of 2015 were truly shocking. Both Emma Anderson and Miki Berenyi had seemingly both given up on music altogether and their emotional ending still felt fresh. A compilation box set and announcements of live shows happened quickly; then new recordings followed. Many, if not most, bands who reunite after a number of years are just in it for the quick payoff and don't worry about creating anything new that might lower the quality of the catalog. Lush deserve credit for taking that risk on the Blind Spot EP, and though the four songs don't equal any of their previous high points, they aren't embarrassing either.

Resetting their sound to before they became a snarky, snappy Brit-pop band on Lovelife, the EP has a gauzy murkiness, as if the ghost of Robin Guthrie were hovering nearby giving pointers, though actually it's Ladytron's Daniel Hunt in the producer's chair. Berenyi's reliably pretty vocals are covered in reverb, the guitars strum and chime in layers of FX'd noise, and new drummer Justin Welch, of Elastica fame, holds it all together in solid fashion. Hunt adds programming and keyboards, as well as some guitar and treatments. Any of the tracks would have been a fine selection for one of their early EPs, especially the melodically haunting "Out of Control," and if they lack a little of the mystery and exhilaration of those long-passed days, it's understandable and expected. The lyrics are sad and melancholy, the tone is autumnal, and only the uptempo, jangling "Burnham Beeches" reaches tentatively out of the murk, with the two vocalists almost sounding happy at times. Overall, Blind Spot works well on many levels. It shows the bandmembers aren't just exercising their nostalgic muscles while looking for a quick buck. It shows they are still capable of writing and recording very Lush-sounding music. And maybe most importantly, it gives hope to their fans that if Lush keep recording music, based on this it'll most likely be up to their established standard of quality.

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