PUBLISHED IN THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR Thursday, March 28, 1996

BY NICK KREWEN

 

London's LUSH has a new album out called Lovelife, but don't expect to find any hidden or profound revelations in the band's lyrics.

There aren't any, says songwriting and singing guitarist EMMA ANDERSON, who co-found the band eight years ago with pink-haired vocalist and guitarist MIKI BERENYI.

"Someone talked to me about (the first single) `Single Girl' recently, and made it sound very deep and academic," says a congested Anderson between coughing fits as she battles a cold from her London office.

"This woman was asking me in an interview about it, and I thought, `It's not that deep at all."

She chuckles.

"It's a simple song."

Anderson dismisses a couple of other songs she wrote for the album -- "Last Night" and "Olympia" -- as not "about anything at all" but "images and playing around with words."

"People really do read whatever they want into songs, which is fine," she says. "Some people get it completely wrong, but I don't mind. I used to do it when I was younger.

"There's always a couple on each album which I write where I'm just playing around with words. Miki's (songs) tend to be more personal and direct than mine."

While her songs might be opaque, Anderson has a definite opinion concerning Lovelife.

"I think it's a cynical view of romance," says Anderson, whose band is rounded out by drummer CHRIS ACLAND and bassist PHILIP KING.

"It is a lighter album, and those songs are maybe a bit more bitter. They're not soul-searchers."

There is one noticeable difference between Lovelife -- released in Canada yesterday -- and its three predecessors. The milky atmospherics and cascading guitars have been chucked for a more elaborate sound. The ethereal haziness that often brought comparisons with 4 A.D. label mates COCTEAU TWINS and defined such earlier songs as "The Invisible Man" and "Sweetness And Light" has been turfed for the melodically aggressive "Ladykillers" and "Single Girl" on the new album. There's less strumming, and more humming.

Anderson says it's about time.

"This could be the most confident album we've made," she declares. "I think it's the most representative of our sound. It's not the producers putting their stamp on us."

Anderson admits that Lush has had their problems in the past with studio overlords, although she seems less harsh in criticizing ROBIN GUTHRIE, the Cocteau Twins' mastermind whose personal inflection created the allusion in the first place with the band's first two albums, Spooky and the EP compilation Gala.

"He didn't use guitar amps and he didn't use drums," recalls Anderson. "It was a very unorthodox way of recording. If we knew what we know now, we wouldn't have done that, but we did it because we were very naive and inexperienced.

"A lot of people thought that was our sound, and it wasn't. People would come and see us live and expect to hear Cocteau Twins."

Anderson feels the band's 1994 album Split  was closer in essence to Lush's true identity, but a slave to producer MIKE HEDGES' vision. So for Lovelife, Lush hired their live sound engineer PETE BARNETT.

"I think we just wanted to get the personality of the band through this time, and not have samples and guitar effects and all this sort of stuff," says Anderson.

"Pete was very enthusiastic. He wasn't someone who said, `This is just another job and I'll do whatever.' It was a very enjoyable experience to make this album. The other two weren't enjoyable."

About to embark on a North American tour that sees them tentatively penciled in for a May 4 date in Toronto with fellow 4 A.D. acts MOJAVE 3 and SCHEER, Anderson says Lush hopes to capitalize on the groundwork they've laid on previous tours, including a 1992 appearance at Lollapalooza.

"When we first started Lush, it was on a very amateur level and we had no expectations," says Anderson. "A lot of people start bands because they want to be famous. We never did. We didn't have any egos. We've always just taken things as they come.

"Obviously we'd like to sell loads of records, but we aren't arrogant about it. I personally do it because I just love music, and I love songwriting, and the way I express myself through music. It's not a particularly easy job. It can be very, very hard. And it's not particularly glamorous, either, at this level.

"We've been doing this for eight years now, and we're not exactly traveling around in limousines and coifing back champagne every night."

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

1989 -- Scar  EP -- 4. A.D.

1990 -- Mad Love EP

1990 -- Sweetness And Light EP

1990 -- Gala

1991 -- Black Spring EP

1992 -- Spooky

1994 -- Split

1996 -- Lovelife

COLLABORATIONS

1992 -- Various Artists, PolyGram's Most Wanted

1994 -- Various Artists, A Mercury/PolyGram New Music Sampler

1995 -- Various Artists, Doom Generation

1999 -- Various Artists, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Splendor

THANKS: Donna Lidster, Wade Hemsworth, Glen Nott

© 1996, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink

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