Ten years after their last album, Golden State, Bush are back – except that they’re not. Gavin Rossdale and drummer Robin Goodridge are the only original members present here, guitarist Nigel Pulsford and bassist Dave Parsons missing in action.
The reunion may be viewed as a cynical attempt to exploit the name, but this feels like more of a Bush album than Golden State – at least for the first 20 minutes.
The album pointedly starts with an exchange of fire between Rossdale and Goodridge before the spiky guitar and familiar tumbling drums gradually bring the hazy lyrics of The Mirror Of The Signs into focus. The Sound Of Winter builds on that – solid, brooding but still agile – while All My Life is positively swaggering despite, or maybe because of the sense that the riff has hidden echoes of Feel Like Making Love. It’s only when the soaring chorus of The Afterlife glistens a little too brightly that the album’s mainstream pretensions start to show.
Producer Bob Rock would have done better to liven up Rossdale’s clichéd lyrics and rescue the last three lacklustre tracks than spend so much time sprinkling airplay fairydust everywhere.