Longtime die-hard Lush fans are in for a shock. "Lovelife" came out on March 5th and it's completely unlike anything they've ever done. A lot of people have been disappointed by the three EP's Lush released at the beginning of the year, and having heard the two "Single Girl" discs, I understand why. I think, though, that when most of those people hear the whole album will be relieved that Lush is still a great band. Cheeseball bands like Bush aren't going to be happy. "Papasan" with its single guitar cranked too high, is what their dopey "Glycerine" could have been. There are other familiar sounds on the album-"Heavenly Nobodies" sounds like So-Cal punk, "I've Been Here Before" has a very Stereolab-sounding horn section, and the strings from "Split" are back on a couple of tracks. In many ways it sounds like what's getting airplay now, but about a hundred times better.

Lush songs have dealt with relationships and love since their beginning. Lovelife however (yes, it was a song on "Split") is basically dedicated to voicing the ladies opinions about men in general, and guys, they're not pleased. I think the most unusual track on Lovelife is "Ciao!", a duet with Pulp's Jarvis Cocker which was apparently inspired by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood duets from the 60's. With the cheesy keyboards and acoustic guitars it sounds basically just like you'd imagine--weird. It still reminds me of Johnny Cash or something. The last track-"Olympia"-is one of the prettiest songs they've ever done. This one song makes the whole disc worth the price.

The mixing on this album is completely different, the vocals are right up front, you can understand almost every word. If you hadn't noticed before, some of their lyrics are pretty dumb, and it's especially evident on this one. From "500" we have "I've never been inside you but you're so alluring--They call you little mouse by name in Rome and Turin." A lot of people have been disappointed by the EP's that came out early this year and they think the whole album will be as bad. I think most of those fans will be pleasantly surprised.

Dave Robbins

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