Lush

Chorus

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In 2015, Lush -- masters of celestial harmonies, stab-and-swirl guitar lines, and one-word titles -- announced their full reactivation. The 4AD label, with assistance from the band's Emma Anderson and designer Chris Bigg, also assembled and issued Chorus, a comprehensive set of the band's 1989-1996 output. Each of the five discs leads with a full-length in its entirety and is filled to capacity with an assortment of extras. What's missing is negligible, mostly forgotten remixes and redundant 7" edits. Gala, the compilation of early EPs with dream pop touchstones "Sweetness and Light" and "De-Luxe," is joined by previously unreleased, career-spanning BBC radio sessions. A set recorded in January 1990 for John Peel's program -- performances of three songs that had yet to be released in proper studio form -- effectively displayed as many distinct sides the band fully explored and refined throughout the following years. The discs that feature the Top Ten U.K. hit Spooky, a patchy if often brilliant debut album, and Split, a twisting and dizzying work of near perfection, conclude with B-sides and strays. Among the better supplemental cuts are a blurrier early version of "Starlust," a spirited version of Wire's "Outdoor Miner" (released three years before Elastica lifted a different song by the same band), and the exceptional "Desire Lines" B-side "White Wood." Third and fine studio full-length Lovelife, the one that got Lush labeled as Brit-pop opportunists, even though they were headed in that direction all along, is appended with a smattering of demos. "Single Girl" and the Anthony Kiedis-inspired "Ladykillers," two sharp singles from Lovelife, sent Lush close to the Top 20 of the U.K. pop chart, thanks in part to two-part CD singles and 7" releases that all contained exclusive tracks. The B-sides from that album alone were enough to prompt the existence of Topolino, a compilation that appeared in Japan and Canada with varying inclusions. All of those offcuts, as well as some earlier ones, are collected on Chorus' fifth disc, highlighted by covers of "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" (popularized by Middle of the Road), "Mannequin" (Wire again), and "Demystification" (Zounds). Packaged hardcover-book style, Chorus is somewhere between 4AD's similarly thorough This Mortal Coil and Colourbox anthologies in terms of aesthetic indulgence. The image-rich book makes it more fan-friendly than either release, illuminating one of the era's most dazzling bands.

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