Lush – “Out Of Control”

Lush – “Out Of Control”

2016’s Lush reunion certainly started out with the best of intentions. Whereas most of their reunited peers were content to exult in the adoration (and dollars) of touring old material, Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson, and Phil King hit the studio first and were ready with the Blind Spot EP – four new tracks and a video, their first songs in 20 years, produced by Ladytron’s Daniel Hunt – just days after their first reunion show.

Seeing how it all went from there – two North American tours around the Summer European festival circuit before King left the band in October 2016, forcing a couple festival cancellations and framed their November gig in Manchester as their final one. Their statement at the time was polite enough at the time, given the circumstances:

It’s been a fantastic year for Lush. We received an incredible reception to our Blind Spot EP and the three beautiful career-spanning 4AD releases, sold out two Roundhouse shows, toured North America with great success and had a ball at our European festival appearances. It’s been wonderful to revisit our old music and to create new material.

However, it is now time for us to return to our families and homes, and bring our time together as a band to a close. We offer heartfelt thanks to all our fans – this reunion would never have happened without your overwhelming support and dedication.

Lush @ Facebook

But subsequent interviews with Berenyi as she struck out on her own with Piroshka indicated that creative and personal tensions with Anderson were insurmountable and that the two were no longer on speaking terms. A sad ending, indeed.

Yet it feels like in the past seven years, that Blind Spot EP has largely been forgotten, instead of being a portent of things to come it’s a single oddity in their discography. It was put out independently on the band’s own Edamame Records which, obviously, has just the single release to its name, so has nothing to do with the recent reissue of the rest of their discography. And it’s too bad, because while it’s not a classic work, the four songs were perfectly solid and sounded very much like classic Lush. When they announced the release, Berenyi and King had some thoughts on what it was like returning to Lush after two decades:

It certainly took some time to set up, but once we were in the studio, everything came together incredibly quickly. It was great fun! It’s been a long time since I’ve written Lush lyrics, and I realised early on with this EP that what I wrote about then is not what I feel comfortable writing about now. My perspective, and what is close to my heart, has changed, and I think that’s conveyed in the songs.

Miki Berenyi, Lush
Lush Announce Blind Spot EP, Share “Out of Control” Video @ Pitchfork

I know I’m biased, but I work for a music magazine and so much of the music I hear played in the office sounds non-descript or derivative. Emma has this way of writing unusual chord changes and manages to weave lovely melodies over the top, and it immediately sounds distinctive, like Lush.

Phil King, Lush
Lush Announce Blind Spot EP, Share “Out of Control” Video @ Pitchfork

Talking to Stereogum, Anderson explained why the decided to inflict the pressure of writing and recording new music in addition to preparing for a tour:

For me, it was a nice extra, actually, because I really like writing and making music, so it kind of added a bit more incentive, and I think it’s just nice for the fans as well. A lot of people do just get back together and play the old songs, which is fine, but I think it was nice to have that extra string to our bow. But it did mean a hell of a lot more work for us. We didn’t make life easy for ourselves, but I think it’s been worth it.

Emma Anderson, Lush
Q&A: Lush On Their Unusual Legacy & Exciting Reunion @ Stereogum

And in her own conversation with The Skinny, Anderson discussed what her and Berenyi’s new working dynamic was like… at first at least.

“Oh god! I can never… it’s so difficult to explain how we write songs,” she says. “I mean, I wrote all the music on the new EP and Miki wrote all the lyrics, which is different to what happened back in the day. Back then, she wrote her music and lyrics and I wrote my music and lyrics. It was quite separate. I think because of our lifestyles – I’m a single mum and I get a bit more time on my own – I had more of an opportunity to write music.”

Emma Anderson, Lush
Lush: Shoegaze, Blind Spot and Reunions @ The Skinny

Anderson talked to TapeOp about the process of actually recording the EP, much of which was done remotely:

It was actually done in stages. The first part was with done with Danny [remotely in Brazil]. We were sending files back and forth across the ocean! I did my home demos on GarageBand and I sent them to him. He took the demos and built on them with keyboards, quite a lot of effects, and some guitar. We sent Danny drums that Justin had recorded remotely [for “Out of Control” and “Burnham Beeches”] and he edited those as well. He did quite a lot, but he didn’t do any structural changes. Some of what you hear on there is actually from my home demos! The beginning of “Lost Boy” is my original guitar. The second stage was with Jim Abbiss [at Jim’s studio, Lime Green Monkeys, in Saffron Walden, England]. Danny was in the studio for that part as well, and even did a little bit of vocal! If you can hear some male vocal in there, that’s Danny. Jim recorded vocals, more guitar, bass, trumpet, and strings. Audrey Riley, whom we’ve worked with many times in the past, arranged the strings. It was a different way of recording for Lush, but it was good; it worked well. If we do another record we might try and get Justin into a studio with everybody else. I think it would work better.

Emma Anderson, Lush
Lush: The Return of Sweetness and Light @ TapeOp

This interview at Under The Radar prior when they were in mid-reunion sheds some more light on how the decision to reunite came about:

Lush: From Reluctance to Reunion @ Under The Radar

And really, what else is there to say, save to wonder what could have been?

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