Lush; early 1990s
|Genres||Shoegazing, Britpop, dream pop, noise pop, alternative rock|
|Years active||1987–1996 (official 1998)|
|Associated acts||The Rover Girls, The Bugs, Sing-Sing, The Lillies, Pale Saints|
|Past members||Miki Berenyi
The band formed in 1987 in London, initially named The Baby Machines (after a line in the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "Arabian Knights"), with a lineup of Meriel Barham (vocals), Emma Anderson (guitar, vocals), Miki Berenyi (guitar, vocals), Steve Rippon (bass) and Chris Acland (drums).
Anderson and Berenyi had been school friends, having known each other since the early 1980s, and together published the Alphabet Soup fanzine. In 1986, Anderson joined The Rover Girls as bassist, and Berenyi joined The Bugs, also as a bass player. Neither band lasted long, and in 1987, they joined Barham and Acland in The Baby Machines. Rippon joined shortly thereafter, and the band members decided on a change of name to Lush, making their live debut at the Camden Falcon on 6 March 1988. Barham left the band and later joined Pale Saints. Berenyi then took on lead vocal duties.
Anderson said of the band's beginnings: "We were kind of punk rock in one way. We did think, 'Well, if they can do it, why the fuck can't we?' Basically, our idea was to have extremely loud guitars with much weaker vocals. And, really, the vocals were weaker due to nervousness – we'd always be going 'Turn them down! Turn them down!'" Berenyi said, "We started by writing crappy riot grrl anthems... which was probably charming in a juvenile way. But there was a very rapid shift from the minute we started to write for records. The music, the lyrics became much more thoughtful and expressive, more important, really. I remember that change beginning when Emma wrote "Thoughtforms," it certainly made me think I needed to get my act together."
In 1989, the band signed to 4AD and released Scar, a six-track mini-album. Critical praise for Scar and a popular live show established Lush as one of the most written-about groups of the early 1990s UK indie scene. Anderson told Everett True in Melody Maker, "I remember when I couldn't play, I wasn't in a band, didn't know anyone else who could play, and now we've got a record out on 4AD. I sometimes find it impossible to come to terms with what's happening."
Not long after, the British music press tagged them with the "shoegazing" label. The following year, the EPs Mad Love (produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins) and Sweetness and Light (produced by Tim Friese-Greene) were released. All three releases were eventually combined into the Gala compilation album, which was produced mainly for the US and Japanese markets. The band recorded a live session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show in 1990 and contributed a cover version of "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" later that year to the anti-poll tax album Alvin Lives (In Leeds).
The band's profile was raised by extensive touring, including an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival in June 1990 and tours of Japan in late 1990 and the US (with Ride) in the spring of 1991. Preceded by the Black Spring EP issued in October 1991, Lush's first full-length album of completely new material, Spooky, was released in January 1992. Again produced by Guthrie, Spooky featured a sound very similar to Guthrie's band Cocteau Twins, with walls of sound and a great deal of guitar effects. Reviews were mixed and critics of the album held that Guthrie's production brought the sound away from the band's original creative vision, although it sold well, reaching number 7 in the UK Albums Chart. The album was preceded by the band's first UK top 40 single, "For Love." Rippon left the band during the final mixing of the album to concentrate on writing, though his book Cold Turkey Sandwich—a fictionalised chronicle of his time touring—was rejected by publishers. He was replaced by Phil King. Also in 1992, Lush toured America as part of the second edition of the Lollapalooza festival. Lush was added to the roster by Lollapalooza organiser Perry Farrell, the Jane's Addiction/Porno for Pyros frontman, who personally requested Lush.
Lush approached Bob Mould to produce their second album. The band stated that Mould was too busy to produce them, but Mould said in a Spin article that he backed out because "I kept picking the wrong girl's songs... I had to get out before I broke up the band!" Split, produced by the band with Mike Hedges and mixed by Alan Moulder, was released in June 1994 and featured a more stripped-down sound. Split was not as successful as Spooky, however. Two singles from the album ("Hypocrite" and "Desire Lines") were both released on 30 May 1994, making Lush the first band ever to release two different singles on the very same day, though neither single broke into the UK Top 40. The band concentrated on the American market, on the advice of their management, but failed to make a breakthrough there; they suffered further setbacks when tours of Japan and the UK were cancelled. They decided to break from their management and begin work on a new album. 1996's Lovelife, the band's final album, was produced by Pete Bartlett, the band's live engineer. It was released on the heels of the Britpop craze and became the biggest seller of their career, possibly due to a more upbeat production style than their earlier releases. Lovelife included the hit singles "Single Girl", "Ladykillers" and "500 (Shake Baby Shake)", and also featured a guest appearance by Jarvis Cocker of Pulp duetting with Berenyi on the song "Ciao!",
In October 1996, tragedy struck the band when drummer Acland committed suicide by hanging himself at his parents' house. After a long period of grieving, the band continued for a time but officially announced that they had split up on 23 February 1998.
Berenyi went on to work as a production editor at two major magazine publishers. In 1998, Anderson formed a new group, Sing-Sing, with singer Lisa O'Neill. Sing-Sing released two full-length albums but in January 2008, announced they were disbanding. Anderson currently resides in Hastings and has held various jobs in the music business in management, PR, accountancy and at a booking agency. BKing plays bass for The Jesus and Mary Chain and also works for a music magazine as a picture researcher.
Lush's cover of The Rubinoos song, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," (retitled "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend" for Lush's authorised version) was cited in a 2007 lawsuit filed by The Rubinoos against Avril Lavigne, whose song "Girlfriend" bore similarities to the Lush cover of the Rubinoos song. A settlement in the case has since been reached.
|Title||Release date||Format||Label||Code||UK Albums Chart||UK Indie||US Billboard 200|
|Scar (mini-album)||9 October 1989||LP/CD||4AD||JAD 911||–||3||–|
|Spooky||27 January 1992||LP/CD/double-10"/C||CAD 2002||7||–||–|
|Split||13 June 1994||LP/CD/C||CAD 4011||19||–||195|
|Lovelife||4 March 1996||LP/CD/C||CAD 6004||8||–||189|
|Gala||3 December 1990||LP/CD/C||Worldwide||4AD||CAD 0017|
|Cookie||December 1994||CD||Japan||Nippon Columbia||COCY-78365|
|Topolino||August 1996||CD (9 tracks)||Japan||Nippon Columbia||COCY-80351|
|Topolino||August 1997||CD (12 tracks)||Canada||Polygram/4AD||76974 2110 2|
|Ciao! Best of Lush||19 March 2001||CD||Worldwide||4AD||GAD 2K22 CD|
Singles and EPs
|Title||Release date||Format||Code||UK Singles Chart||US Modern Rock||Album|
|Mad Love EP||26 February 1990||12"/CD/C||BAD 0003||55||–||–|
|"Sweetness and Light"||15 October 1990||7"/12"/CD/C||BAD 0013||47||4||Gala|
|"De-Luxe"||March 1991||Radio promo CD||PRO-CD-4662||–||14|
|"Nothing Natural"/Black Spring||7 October 1991||7"/C//12"/CD||BAD 1016||43||–||Spooky|
|"Nothing Natural"||29 October 1991||CD||9 40231-2 (US only)||–||22|
|"For Love"||30 December 1991||10"/12"/CD/C||BAD 2001||35||9|
|"Superblast!"||February 1992||Radio promo CD||PRO-CD-5471||–||–|
|"Hypocrite"||30 May 1994||7"/12"/CD||BAD 4008||52||–||Split|
|"Desire Lines"||30 May 1994||7"/12"/CD||BAD 4010||60||–|
|"Single Girl"||8 January 1996||7"/2xCD 1||BAD 6001||21||–||Lovelife|
|"Ladykillers"||26 February 1996||7"/2xCD 1||BAD 6002||22||18|
|"500 (Shake Baby Shake)"||15 July 1996||7"/2xCD 1||BAD 6009||21||–|
1 The two CD releases for Single Girl, Ladykillers and 500 (Shake Baby Shake) had different b-sides on each format (see below)
LIST OF NON-ALBUM TRACKS INCLUDED ON SINGLES AND EPS:
Mad Love EP: De-Luxe 3:26 / Leaves Me Cold 2:55 / Downer 2:39 / Thoughtforms 2:43
Sweetness and Light [b/w Sunbathing 2.47 / Breathe 3.09]
Black Spring EP: Nothing Natural 5:58 / Fallin' In Love 2:44 / God's Gift 4:13 / Monochrome 5:08]
For Love [b/w Starlust 4:21 / Outdoor Miner 2:46 / Astronaut 2:37]
Hypocrite [b/w Love At First Sight 5:12 / Cat's Chorus 3:23 / Undertow (Spooky Remix) 9:13
Desire Lines [b/w White Wood 4:14 / Girl's World 4:56 / Lovelife (Suga Bullit Remix) 8:15
Single Girl CD1 [b/w: Tinkerbell 3:06 / Outside World 4:05 / Cul De Sac 3:39]
Single Girl CD2 [b/w: Pudding 3:56 / Demystification 3:39 / Shut Up 3:46]
Ladykillers CD1 [b/w: Matador 3.01 / Ex 3.14 / Dear Me (Miki's 8-track Home Demo) 3.06]
Ladykillers CD2 [b/w: Heavenly 2:53 / Carmen 3:19 / Plums And Oranges 6:19]
500 (Shake Baby Shake) CD1 [b/w: I Have The Moon 3:52 / Piledriver 3:07 / Olympia (Acoustic Version) 3:16]
500 (Shake Baby Shake) CD2 [b/w: I'd Like To Walk Around In Your Mind 2:19 / Kiss Chase (Acoustic Version) 2:54 / Last Night (Hexadecimal Dub Mix) 6:31]
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)|
- "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" appears on Alvin Lives (In Leeds) Anti Poll Tax Trax (1990, CD, Midnight Music CLANG 4CD)
- A live version of "Starlust" recorded on the NME Stage, Glastonbury on 27 June 1992 appears on In a Field of Their Own (1992, CD)
- "Tiny Smiles" appears on Volume Two (1991, CD)
- A demo version of "Desire Lines" appears on The 13 Year Itch (1993, CD, 4AD Cat. No. SHUFFLE)
- An alternative version of "The Childcatcher" appears on All Virgos Are Mad (1994, CD, 4AD Cat. No. 45789)
- A demo version of "Tinkerbell" appears on Volume Ten (1994, CD, RTM/Pinnacle 10VCD10)
- "Undertow" (The Spooky Mix) appears on the Doom Generation soundtrack (1995, CD, Warner Bros / Wea B000002MAG)
- "All This Useless Beauty", an Elvis Costello cover, appears on the Elvis Costello & The Attractions maxi-single for "You Bowed Down" (1996, CD, Warner Bros. Records)
- "I Have the Moon" appears on the Nowhere soundtrack (1997, CD, Polygram Records B000001ERO)
- "Last Night (Darkest Hour Mix)" appears in the 1997 movie City of Industry (1997, CD, Polygram B000001EAG).
- An instrumental version of "Light from a Dead Star" appears on the soundtrack to Joyride (1997, CD, 4AD/Warner Bros. 9 46825-2)
- "Sweetness and Light" (The Orange Squash Mix) remixed by My Bloody Valentine appears on the Splendor soundtrack (1999, CD, Astralwerks ASW6282-2)
- An instrumental version of "Light from a Dead Star" appears in the trailer for the movie Solaris.
- "Monochrome" appeared on "Late Night Tales The Flaming Lips" (2005 Azuli Records) a compilation by The Flaming Lips with whom Lush toured the USA in 1992.
- "Sunbathing" appeared on "Never Lose That Feeling Volume 2" on Club AC30 Records in 2005. This version was recorded by Sing-Sing, Emma Anderson's subsequent band.
- "Sweetness and Light" appeared on "Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi Shoegazing 1985–2009 Compiled by Rob Da Bank" on Soma Records in 2009
- "Ladykillers" is included in the soundtrack for the video game NCAA Football 06.
- Lush's song "De-Luxe" is a playable track in the video games Rock Band 2 and Rock Band Unplugged.
- Lush's song "Sweetness and Light" is a playable track made available for download for the Rock Band series of video games.
- Lush recorded a cover of Wire's "Mannequin" for the 1996 tribute album Whore: Various Artists Play Wire, and their cover of "Outdoor Miner" appeared on the 2004 tribute album A Houseguest's Wish.
- Thompson, Dave (2000) Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman, ISBN 0-87930-607-6, p. 478-9
- "LUSH Remembered – Biographies". Lightfromadeadstar.org. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "LUSH Remembered – Discography". Lightfromadeadstar.org. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "LUSH Remembered – Lush at Work". Lightfromadeadstar.org. 20 July 1996. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Carpenter, Lorraine. "Miki Berenyi | Under The Radar". Undertheradarmag.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Avril Lavigne settles 'Girlfriend' lawsuit". The Star (Toronto). 9 January 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 333/4. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980–1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p.138
- "Lush > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p.849
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lush.|
- Lush-Page at 4AD
- LushRemembered.org – Biography, discography and tour-archive
- Extensive discography with album covers
- Lush discography at MusicBrainz
- Lush-Biography at VH1