Sweetness and Light (EP)
|Sweetness and Light|
|EP by Lush|
|Released||15 October 1990|
|Studio||The Greenhouse in London, England|
|Singles from Sweetness and Light|
Sweetness and Light is the second extended play by the English alternative rock band Lush. It was released on 15 October 1990 on 4AD. Featuring a less abrasive sound than the band's earlier releases, the title track was also released as Lush's first single and included the B-side "Breeze".
Tim Friese-Greene produced Sweetness and Light over a six-week period at the Greenhouse and Wessex Sound Studios in London. The recording sessions took considerably longer than Lush's previous sessions with Robin Guthrie and John Fryer, but resulted in a more atmospheric dream pop sound.
Sweetness and Light received mixed reviews upon release, but led to Lush's first major headlining national tour and placed in the national charts. The single was particularly successful in the United States, where it placed at No. 4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and received heavy rotation on radio.
Background and recording
In 1989, Lush released their debut mini album Scar to warm reviews, and followed up the album with the Mad Love EP in February 1990. Mad Love brought a large amount of attention to the band from both the alternative and mainstream British press, with vocalist-guitarist Miki Berenyi and guitarist Emma Anderson becoming the subject of several gossip columns in national weeklies. Lush also began performing to larger audiences, performing at the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts and opening as support for the Cure at the Crystal Palace Bowl in London, England in summer 1990.
Lush began searching for a producer for their next set of material, and Talk Talk producer Friese-Greene was recommended. The band were unfamiliar with his work—though Anderson and Berenyi purchased copies of Talk Talk albums just prior to the initial recording sessions—while Friese-Greene was already a fan of Lush. Sweetness and Light was recorded at the Greenhouse, a mid-range studio in London, in August 1990 with Friese-Greene and engineer Ed Buller. The sessions were unusually long for Lush; overall production was done over a six-week period, with mixing completed at Wessex Sound Studios.
Greene's approach was considered as "enthusiastic" by Berenyi, and Anderson regarded his techniques as significantly different than Mad Love producer Guthrie and Scar producer Fryer. According to Anderson, Friese-Greene changed the original drum tracks to "Sweetness and Light", as well making several edits to the song's overall structure.
Lyrics and music
"Sweetness and Light" is regarded as one of Lush's signature songs. It is less "heavy" than the band's earlier post-punk-oriented material and has a "looser, lighter air" in its composition and production.
Stylistically, "Sweetness and Light" is a dream pop song featuring elements of shoegazing music. Described as a "pure pop song", it uses feedback and several effects units on Anderson and Berenyi's guitar tracks. Both Berenyi's lead vocal and Anderson's backing vocal (which drew comparisons to Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine) are mixed low and obscured. According to NME writer Steve Lamacq, the vocals were "half-hidden" as they were symbolic of the band's "withdrawn" approach towards pop music and their "reluctance to become a "blatant" part of the current 'indie' rush to the charts."
"Sweetness and Light"'s drum and bass instrumentation—performed by Chris Acland and Steve Rippon respectively—are arranged in a Madchester style and drew comparison to the Stone Roses. Additional percussion on the track was performed by Phil Overhead. Acland and Rippon's rhythm section was made more prominent and "dancefloor-worthy" in Kevin Shields' "Orange Squash" remix, included on the soundtrack to the 1999 film Splendor.
Packaging and music video
Sweetness and Light's packaging was commissioned by 4AD. Vaughan Oliver, who had designed the album sleeves for Scar and Mad Love, was head of direction and designed Sweetness and Light's artwork. The artwork features photography by Jim Friedman.
The run-out matrix codes on the groove of the 12-inch record pressing of Sweetness and Light included two obscure messages: "Cool, fresh, milk float" on side 1 and "What's hiding under the sheets?" on side 2. Similar messages were hidden on the vinyl pressings of Scar and Mad Love.
Release and reception
|"Sweetness and Light"|
|Single by Lush|
|Released||15 October 1990|
|Recorded||August 1990at the Greenhouse in London, England|
|Lush singles chronology|
Sweetness and Light was released on 15 October 1990 on 4AD in the United Kingdom. Featuring "Sweetness and Light", "Sunbathing" and "Breeze", it was issued as a 12-inch and CD and was later made available as a digital download.
The EP's title track was also released as Lush's first single, pressed as both a 7-inch and cassette single. For the single release, "Sunbathing" was omitted from the track listing and a shortened version of "Sweetness and Light" was used for the 7-inch's A-side. A promotional single, featuring both edits of the song, was released to radio in the United States to support the release of the compilation album Gala in December.
Upon its release, Sweetness and Light entered in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 47 in its first week of release. The title song was a considerable independent success in the US, receiving heavy radio airplay and peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart as a result.
Critical reception to Sweetness and Light was mixed. Melody Maker considered the single "sorely over-produced", while NME's Terry Staunton considered the EP "glorious" and "pure Lush". A 13-date headlining British tour was announced in support of Sweetness and Light, featuring support from Faith over Reason. The tour began on 21 October 1990 at Zap Club in Brighton and concluded on 5 November at the Town & Country Club in London. On the tour, "Sweetness and Light" became a fan favourite and a staple of Lush's setlists for the subsequent 1990 tours in both the US and Japan.
Lush were signed to Reprise Records on a licensing and distribution deal in the US a week after the release of Sweetness and Light, and the EP was reissued as part of Gala in November 1990. A remastered version of the title track was included on Ciao! Best of Lush, a compilation album released in March 2001, and the song was made available as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series in July 2009.
All songs written and composed by Emma Anderson unless otherwise noted.
EP track listings
Single track listings
All personnel credits adapted from Sweetness and Light's notes.
- Chris Acland – drums
- Emma Anderson – guitar, backing vocals
- Miki Berenyi – vocals, guitar
- Steve Rippon – bass
- Additional musicians
- Phil Overhead – percussion
- Technical personnel
- Design personnel
|UK Singles Chart||47|
|US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||4|
- Hawthorne, Andy (4 November 1990). "Lush". Totally Wired (Fanzine): 30-31.
- Sweetness and Light (EP notes). Lush. 4AD. 1990. BAD 0013.
- Staff writer(s) (January 1992). "Media Information: Lush (Spooky)" (Press release). Burbank; New York; Nashville: Reprise Records. p. 3.
- Lamacq, Steve (20 October 1990). "Abba, Abba Hey". NME. IPC Media: 28-29.
- Staff writer(s) (October 1990). "Media Information: Lush (Gala)" (Press release). Burbank; New York; Nashville: Reprise Records. p. 2-3.
- Mason, Stewart. "Sweetness and Light – Lush | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Birchmeier, Jason. "Splendor – Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Scar (LP). Lush. 4AD. 1989. JAD 911.
- Mad Love (12-inch record). Lush. 4AD. 1990. BAD 003.
- "Videos - Sweetness and Light". 4AD. Beggars Group. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Sweetness and Light by Lush". 4AD. Beggars Group. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Sweetness and Light" (Single notes). Lush. 4AD/Reprise Records. 1990. PRO-CD-4568.
- "Official Singles Chart results for Sweetness and Light". Official Charts Company. British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Lush – Chart history: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Sweetness and Light". Melody Maker. IPC Media: 57. 22 December 1990.
- Staunton, Terry (3 November 1990). "The Story of Booze: Lush – Gala". NME. IPC Media: 8.
- "Lush: New EP and Major Tour". Melody Maker. IPC Media: 5. 29 September 1990.
- Mico, Ted (15 December 1990). "Lush: North American Ice Screams". Melody Maker. IPC Media: 27.
- Ciao! Best of Lush (Album notes). Lush. 4AD. 2001. GAD 2K22 CD.
- "Kings of Leon and Rancid Make Rock Band Debuts". IGN. j2 Global. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2015.