Gavin Rossdale harnessed the power of the '90s on the reconstituted Bush's 2011 comeback album, The Sea of Memories, hiring veteran hard rock producer Bob Rock to give the group a steely sheen. Sonically, the whole thing worked better than some of the records they made when they still were a going concern on the Billboard charts -- but the record didn't do much commercially, necessitating a change in direction for 2014's Man on the Run. Rossdale's Bush remains the same -- the only other surviving original member is drummer Robin Goodridge -- but the aesthetic has changed and so have the producers, with Nick Raskulinecz (Evanescence, Deftones, Foo Fighters) and Jay Baumgardner (Ugly Kid Joe, Papa Roach) getting the credits here. Man on the Run does indeed have a deliberately modern glint, one that incorporates burbling electronics, the occasional drum loop, and a heaping amount of gloss upon the grunge grind. As aurally busy as this production is -- and there are times where there's simply too much going on, the stuttering digital blips competing with the melodies, the riffs, the rhythmic wallop -- this album also houses some of Rossdale's strongest melodies in quite some time, songs that could pull in a AAA crossover if they weren't decked out in vaguely electronic hard rock clatter. This dissonance -- how the production pushes in an opposite direction than the tunes -- makes Man on the Run inadvertently revealing: as always, Rossdale's aspirations don't quite jibe with his natural skills, and to hear him deny his gifts is fascinating even if it falls short of being compelling.
Man on the Run Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine