Gala was an introduction to Lush for the American and Japanese markets. It contains the band’s first three EPs which were only available in the UK. They needed to get a foothold in the American market with their debut album about to be released and a place secured on the Lollapalooza tour.
It showcases the catchy melodies, distortion,effervescence and everything that made Lush what it is. There are a selection of outtakes and a cover of Abba’s underrated divorce-pop masterpiece Hey Hey Helen. Produced by Tim Friese-Greene (Talk Talk), Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and John Fryer (This Mortal Coil), who produced Sweetness and Light EP, Mad Love EP and the Scar mini album accordingly. This means that there are two versions of Thoughtforms one produced by Guthrie the other by Fryer. In retrospective reviews it was the production that received criticism, but upon a recent listen I would disagree. The production adds the the 90’s feel of the album and transports me away to that happier time.
Lush : Gala
Sweetness And Light
Leaves Me Cold
Hey Hey Helen
Scarlet (New Version)
Possibly the last great EP from indie stalwarts Lush. Taken from the Spooky album; the title track is a lovely piece of standard fare, but the rest of the EP is a blinder. It includes an early version of Starlust, Miki Berenyi’s vocals sound not as assertive as the version that appears on Split. This gives the song very sweet and twee vocals, contrasted to sassy powerful guitars.
Outdoor Miner is a bold cover of the post-punk Wire classic. Admittedly the original is a melodic accessible piece, and not as Oi! as some of their other tracks. Lush take Outdoor Miner and make it warm and feminine . The last track Astronaut is a whimsical atmospheric delight, gossamer delicate vocals loosely held together with guitar riffs.
Lush : For Love
The first proper release from Lush. It was produced by Cocteau Twin, Robin Guthrie. Much of the debate about this album is did Guthrie’s sonic enhancements contribute to the album or did it detract from Lush’s creative talent. It has been criticised for burying vocals and drumming under walls of sound and flanging. I will leave that for you to decide, it has some beautiful harmonies and some groovy hip swaying hum along songs such as Nothing Natural. Infectious and catchy songs such as Superblast! Its just a shame that you can’t really singalong to the song as the vocals are unintelligible. The pick of the bunch is the last song Monochrome which is the definitive Lush masterpiece.
I saw Lush on tour in 1992, on their Spooky tour and I can’t really remember that much about it. Except they were supported by Spitfire.
Lush : Spooky