The Science of Things


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The Science of Things Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

For their third album, The Science of Things, Bush returned to Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, the Madness producers who helmed Sixteen Stone, but along the way, they fell out with the duo. Rossdale claimed the two were only credited on the album for legal reasons, and that the real work was done by the band with engineer Tom Elmhirst, which is probably true, since it's slicker than Razorblade Suitcase but doesn't glisten like Stone. Science is carefully crafted and sequenced, flowing nicely from hard rockers to power ballads, but little of it catches hold. It plays better than the disjointed Razorblade Suitcase due to studiocraft, since the measured, detailed production fleshes out songs held together by a bare minimum of hooks and melodies. Without hooks, Bush's earnestness is unavoidable. Rossdale's emotive, gut-wrenching vocals and the band's hard, heavy delivery are all this record has to offer and the mystery is why the music has such little impact, either as emotional catharsis (which it was intended to be, if the tenor of the performances and Rossdale's interviews are to be believed) or as catchy commercial hard rock (which is what the best moments of their first two records were). In an effort to develop their own voice and to be taken seriously, Bush have left behind their natural strengths -- a knack for melodic hooks and riffs. They're undoubtedly sincere and have delivered a professional record, but once The Science of Things is finished it fades away, since it has neither the emotional nor musical substance to make a lasting impact.

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