Friends, Romans, indie kids, lend me your ears. I come to praise Bush. A bit. Not to bury them. Totally. ‘Cos some of this record rocks. It really does. Oh don’t worry, Bush fans, there’s enough wanky MTV-friendly corporate rock dross to keep you happy but, for the benefit of the rest of us, Bush have gone a bit bog-eyed, spiky, alienated and paranoid-androidy and produced what is, in small parts, a brutal bastard of a record.
The stuff on ‘The Science Of Things‘ that doesn’t suck is wonderfully sterile. [I]Fantastically[/I] un-grungy. Opening track ‘Warm Machine‘ and superb new single ‘The Chemicals Between Us‘ are jerky, jagged, angular Wire-like constructs. Gavin Rossdale whines hardly at all and, on occasion, actually barks. The guitars have a growling, clipped, staccato timbre reminiscent of the early garage Clash and the harsh, metallic, lo-fi production sounds like a ninth generation Garbage bootleg dipped in Dettol. And the best thing here – the crunching, howling ‘English Fire‘ – sounds like Napalm Death giving Prolapse a piggyback through piranha-infested molten treacle. It’s fucking awesome. No, really. And it’s also, unfortunately, the last track on the album that doesn’t sound like the Bush we’ve come to know and be utterly bored by.
The remaining nine tracks are staggeringly unimaginative modern-rock-by-numbers. Some of them – like ‘Jesus Online‘ and ‘The Disease Of The Dancing Cats‘ – are appallingly predictable Nirvana-lite. The rest – the sucky ‘Spacetravel‘, the vile muso ballad ‘40 Miles From The Sun‘ or the inane ‘Altered States‘ – are simply dreadful. Worse than that, some of them actually sound like Placebo B-sides (and, trust me, that’s a criticism).
For God’s sake, Bush, haven’t you already earned enough selling this wanky, dull, pretentious retro-shite to the cloth-eared Yanks? You can do this kind of pre-packaged crap in your sleep! Isn’t it time to move on?
If only you’d have continued ‘The Science Of Things‘ the way you started it – with fire, verve, wit and imagination – what a fucking great record this would have been. Did your courage fail you? Or were you visited by a hit man from the American record company: “Hey, guys, the honchos up at HQ are kinda worried the new record’s not lame enough to shift in the States. Could’ya, like, shit it up a little? After all, we got a brand identity to protect here, [I]capiche[/I]?”
Next time, Gavin, make an entire album you can be proud of. You know you can do it.