The decision to make an EP is one of the most intelligent decisions the reunited Lush have made. Whereas their contemporaries embark on huge reunion tours and/or make flabby albums, Lush have pared it down to a release that will mark their renewed presence plus a small tour to devoted fans. Blind Spot works because it doesn’t throw a new album right in your face, it’s fifteen minutes of Lush doing what they do best. This isn’t the Lush that ended their career with trendy britpop; it has more in common with their earlier material – the original swirling shoegaze that’s now (ironically) trendy again. They might have missed the huge shoegaze revival that occurred a couple of years ago, but perhaps that suggests this is less of a right-place-right-time revival and more like something that they had to get off their chests.
They slot right back into their positions with little fuss or appetite for experimental flourishes. In fact, that works for this EP as it serves as a way for Lush to declare ‘We’re back and we’re sounding like we used to’. Experimentalism can come later, all that needs to be done now is for Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson, Phil King and recent recruit Justin Welch on drums to establish that they can still write good songs. And they can. ‘Burnham Beeches’ has the same Britpop breeziness that was scattered across Lovelife. Lush’s lyrics were always more decipherable than a band like My Bloody Valentine, and Berenyi’s vocals haven’t aged at all despite around twenty years of silence. The lyrics have the kind of shoegaze naivety that’s kind of charming, as Berenyi sings ‘His letters used to make my heart skip a beat’. It might sound awkward coming from another band, but shoegaze gets the blind eye turned to teenage poetry lyricism. Most of the time there’s a swirling guitar working around Berenyi’s voice anyway, and she uses her vocals as another way of conveying that spiralling dreaminess that Lush have long worked in. Think of Lush as the original DIIV. ‘Burnham Beeches’ and single ‘Out Of Control’ are the strongest songs because they drive along speedily, but it’s on the spooky ‘Lost Boy’ and ‘Rosebud’ where Lush come undone slightly. Granted, the instrumentals come into play more, especially with the introduction of strings and the uplifting guitar solo on the Cure-like ‘Rosebud’.
Blind Spot is the kind of way you’d wish more reformed bands come back. It’s dipping their toes in the water, rather than bellyflopping painfully. My Bloody Valentine’s MBV was tedious and confirmed that the band should have left it at Loveless, but Blind Spot is in no way presented as some big conclusion to the Lush story. It’s just a little bit of fun, giving fans some new songs, stretching their songwriting skills and proving that not all reformed bands have to flail around with awkward live shows or make albums that destroy any legacy they have. Lush were always much more clever than that, and here they are proving it.
Funnel Recommends: Out Of Control / Burnham Beeches / Rosebud