Remember Bush? Sure you do. The group, lead by Gavin Rossdale, was one of the most overplayed in the history of music. Their most recent album release, Golden State, was in 2001, yet turn on any random rock station and you're still hearing "Everything Zen" from their 1994 debut Sixteen Stone.
Apparently, Rossdale isn't done infecting the airwaves yet, either, as the first album from his new group Institute proves. Distort Yourself in fact sounds like one long Bush single. How you feel about Bush -- and again, if you've listened to a radio at any time in the past decade you've got an opinion on Bush, whether or not you know it -- determines how this album will sound to you.
The first single, "Bullet Proof Skin," sounds just like Bush's single "Mouth" from 1996's Razorblade Suitcase. It's just barely edgy enough to sound dark while still fitting into modern rock radio. It's a little disappointing that this ended up being Institute's representative single, as there's more impressive work to be found on the album. The remainder of the disc is largely Bush-flavored material, though it leans toward a slightly darker bent than most of Rossdale's previous work. "Come On Over," "Seventh Wave" and "Save the Robots" are the highlights; the rest is pretty bland. "Come On Over" is probably the best song here and would have made a better opening single.
Institute is a by-the-numbers pop-rock post-grunge group, much like Bush. The music in general is inoffensive and sounds ready-made for radio. On the downside, there is no experimentation or even variation on the general Bush sound, meaning if you like that group, you'll like this. Everyone else, though, will find Distort Yourself nothing more than solidly, predictably mediocre.