Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Lush
Gala


Released 1990 on 4AD/Reprise
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 25/07/2000ce


Hope y’all don’t mind me going back to the 1990’s again but this
trip is pretty special. Why? Because Lush were a pretty special
UK band to me. They popped as much as they rocked. Their tender,
jangly guitar sound always had a raw edge to it. They were like
ABBA meets The Jesus & Mary Chain. They were the sound of a
glorious and mysterious, ethereal yet corrosive galaxy opening up
right before Grunge, Techno/Rave, Jungle/Drum N’ Bass, Trip Hop
and BritPop would sadly eclipse them forever.

Most people (whether they’re music critics or not) usually love
artists’ first albums and treasure them more than their later
work (except in the case of 60’s groups like The Beatles, Stones,
etc.) And while Gala is no exception, it also really isn’t a
“debut album” either. It’s really a collection of EP’s. Lush cut
3 EP’s with 3 producers in the UK and their US label Reprise
decided (in a cheap, underhanded but strangely brill move) to
just smoosh them together and call it their “debut” when they
released it in America.

Yet Lush’s sound never really suffers for it. Gala presents you
with the paradox of a young, loud, brash, talented pop/rock band
with sweetly (and at times angrily) cooing female vocals right in
your face. Lead singer/songwriters and guitarists Emma Anderson
and Miki Berenyi detail the ups and downs of their lovelife over
jagged guitars that don’t stab but instead flow, breeze and even
WHOOSH right past you. It was a strange yet sweet formula to be
sure. They even cover an ABBA song here (“Hey Hey Helen”) and two
of their own tunes twice! (“Thoughtforms” and “Scarlet.”) Still,
all of this only added to the delicious mystery of the band.

But one still had to wonder where else Lush could go with that
sound after Gala. Which is why if you dig this smart and breezy
“debut” then pleeze do yerselves a favour and buy their other 3
CD’s (in chronological order: Spooky, Split and Lovelife.) They
all paint a fascinating picture of what a 1990’s UK pop rock band
was capable of.


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