The Science Of Things

Bush

Trauma Records, 1999

http://bushofficial.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/19/1999

I have never really seen what the big deal over the British alternative band Bush has been over the years. Sure, thir breakthrough hit "Everything Zen" was catchy - at least on the first 50 listens, before radio stations played it to death. And while I have occasionally heard songs from Bush that have piqued my curiosity, I've never built up a devotion to the band. Their last full-length disc, Razorblade Suitcase, turned me off with the song "Mouth," and I never bothered to explore further.

So it's interesting to me that I'd build up a healthy interest in Bush's third album, The Science Of Things, after hearing only a snippet of the disc's first single "The Chemicals Between Us". For the first time that I can remember, I was excited about the prospects of a new release from Gavin Rossdale and crew.

While The Science Of Things contains some of the most innovative music this band has ever done, it also stumbles badly at the end, unable to maintain such a level of excellence. Otherwise, not a bad effort at all.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"The Chemicals Between Us" seems to point in a new direction for the band. While guitarist Nigel Pulsford is still very much in the forefront, more attention is put onto the rhythm, which is more industrial than ever before. Drummer Robin Goodridge still focuses on acoustic drums (I've never been a big fan of electronic drums), the more electronic sound to the drums actually fits the mood of this song perfectly. If you never got past this track on the disc, I don't think you'd be complaining much.

But The Science Of Things keeps challenging the listener throughout the first half of the disc. While Bush has not abandoned the melancholic alternative stance their music has had since the early days, tracks like "Warm Machine," "Spacetravel" (featuring No Doubt's Gwen Stefani on background vocals - something I would have not noticed had I not read the press release) and "Prizefighter" all continue to push the envelope of Bush's sound as you might conceive it. The thing is, all these risks pay off in the end, and Rossdale comes off looking like a genius.

The first sign of weakness comes on "English Fire," a song which is especially challenging to the listener, though it proves itself to be worth the added listens in the end. But Rossdale proves that even melancholia can be carried too far, as exhibited on "The Disease Of The Dancing Cats". If there is a message in this song, it's lost in the ramblings. Likewise, it's hard to take a song like "Dead Meat" seriously when the line, "You're dead meat" is delivered without a lot of conviction.

Things take an upturn on "Altered States" and "Mindchanger," but the weaker tracks on The Science Of Things do tend to bring the album down a bit, making it harder for Bush to regain any momentum. It's an interesting phenomenon, especially seeing how much ground the band makes on this disc.

Chances are some of the new sounds of the band might tend to scare away people expecting another "Everything Zen" from Rossdale and crew. But Bush's willingness to try walking a different path is a welcome decision - and, for a good portion of The Science Of Things, it works well. If only Bush had been able to maintain such a level of excellence, this album would have been unstoppable. As it stands, it's good, but flawed.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Trauma Records, and is used for informational purposes only.