Lush (band)

Lush (band)

Lush; early 1990s
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Shoegazing, dream pop, Britpop
Years active 1987–1996 (official 1998)
Labels 4AD
Reprise (US)
Associated acts Rover Girls, The Bugs, Sing-Sing, Lillies, Pale Saints
Past members
Emma Anderson
Miki Berenyi
Phil King
Chris Acland
Meriel Barham
Steve Rippon

Lush were an English alternative rock band, formed in 1987 and disbanded in 1998. They were one of the first bands to attract the "shoegazing" label. Later, their sound progressed toward Britpop.



The band formed in 1987, initially named The Baby Machines, with a line-up of Meriel Barham (vocals), Emma Anderson (guitar), Miki Berenyi (guitar), Steve Rippon (bass), and Chris Acland (drums).[1][2] Anderson and Berenyi had been friends since the early 1980s, and published the Alphabet Soup fanzine together.[2] In 1986 Anderson joined The Rover Girls as bassist and Berenyi joined The Bugs as guitarist; neither band lasted long, and in 1987 they joined Barham and Acland in The Baby Machines.[1] Rippon joined shortly thereafter, and the band members decided on a change of name to Lush, making their live debut at the Camden Falcon on March 6, 1988.[1][2] Barham was fired, with the rest of the band deciding she lacked commitment (she later joined Pale Saints). Anderson and Berenyi then took on lead vocal duties.[1]

Emma Anderson said of the band's beginnings: "We were kind of punk rock in one way. We did think 'Well, if they can do it, why the fuck can't we?' Basically, our idea was to have extremely loud guitars with much weaker vocals. And, really, the vocals were weaker due to nervousness - we'd always be going 'Turn them down! Turn them down!'"[2] Miki Berenyi said, "We started by writing crappy riot grrl anthems... which was probably charming in a juvenile way. But there was a very rapid shift from the minute we started to write for records. The music, the lyrics became much more thoughtful and expressive, more important, really. I remember that change beginning when Emma wrote "Thoughtforms," it certainly made me think I needed to get my act together."[2]

In 1989, the band signed to 4AD Records and released Scar, a 6-track mini-album. Critical praise for Scar and a wildly popular live show established Lush as one of the most written about groups of the early 1990s UK indie scene. Anderson told Everett True in Melody Maker, "I remember when I couldn't play, I wasn't in a band, didn't know anyone else who could play, and now we've got a record out on 4AD. I sometimes find it impossible to come to terms with what's happening."[2]

Not long after, the British music press tagged them with the "shoegazing" label. The following year, the EP Mad Love (produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins) and the single "Sweetness and Light" (produced by Tim Friese-Greene) were released.[3] All three releases were eventually combined into the Gala compilation album which was produced mainly for the US and Japanese markets. The band recorded a live session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show in 1990 and contributed a cover version of "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" to the anti-poll tax album Alvin Lives (in Leeds).[1]

The band's profile was raised by extensive touring, including an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival and tours of Japan and the United States (with Ride).[1] Lush's first full-length album of completely new material was Spooky, released in January 1992. Again produced by Guthrie, Spooky featured a sound very similar to Guthrie's band Cocteau Twins, with walls of sound and a great deal of guitar effects. Reviews were mixed and critics of the album hold that Guthrie's production brought the sound away from the band's original creative vision; although the album sold well, reaching number 7 in the UK Albums Chart.[1] The album was preceded by the band's first UK top 40 single, "For Love."[1] Rippon left the band during the final mixing of the album in order to concentrate on writing, though his book Cold Turkey Sandwich—a fictionalized chronicle of his time touring—was rejected by publishers. He was replaced by Phil King.[2] Also in 1992, Lush toured America as part of the Lollapalooza festival.[1] Lush was eagerly added to the 2nd Lollapalooza roster in 1992 by its organizer, Perry Farrell, the Jane's Addiction/Porno for Pyros frontman, who personally requested Lush for his new tour program.[2]

Lush approached Bob Mould to produce their second album, but it didn't work out. (Stories differ here: the band stated that Mould was too busy to produce them, but Mould said in a Spin Magazine article that he backed out because "I kept picking the wrong girl's songs... I had to get out before I broke up the band!")[1] Split, produced by the band with Mike Hedges and mixed by Alan Moulder, was released in June 1994 and featured a more stripped-down sound.[4] Split was not as successful as Spooky, however. Two singles from the album ("Hypocrite" and "Desire Lines") were both released on 30 May 1994, making Lush the first band ever to release two different singles on the very same day, though neither single broke into the UK Top 40. The band concentrated on the American market, under the advice of their management, but failed to make a breakthrough there; they suffered further setbacks when tours of Japan and the UK were canceled.[1] They decided to break from their management and begin work on a new album. 1996's Lovelife, the band's final album, became the biggest seller of their career as it was released on the heels of the Britpop craze, possibly due to a more upbeat production style than their earlier releases. Lovelife included the hit singles "Ladykillers" and "Single Girl," and also featured a guest appearance by Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, in a duet with Miki Berenyi on the song "Ciao!"[3]

In October 1996, tragedy struck the band when drummer Chris Acland committed suicide by hanging himself in his parents' house. After a long period of grieving, the band continued for a time, with rumours that they were working with former Scarce drummer Stephen Albert, but the band officially announced that they had split up on 23 February 1998.[1][2]

Post break-up

Miki Berenyi went on to work as senior sub-editor at a major magazine publisher.[5] In 1998, Emma Anderson formed a new group, Sing-Sing, with singer Lisa O'Neill. Sing-Sing released two full-length albums but in January 2008, announced they were disbanding. Emma Anderson currently resides in London and has had various jobs in the music business in management, PR and at a booking agency. Bassist Phil King played bass for The Jesus and Mary Chain but now works on a music magazine as a picture researcher.

Lush's cover of The Rubinoos song, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," (retitled "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend" for Lush's authorised version) was cited in a 2007 lawsuit filed by the Rubinoos against Avril Lavigne, whose song "Girlfriend" bore similarities to the Lush cover of the Rubinoos song. A settlement in the case has since been reached.[6]


Studio albums

Title Release date Format Label Code UK Albums Chart[7] UK Indie[8] US Billboard 200
Scar (mini-album) 9 October 1989 LP/CD 4AD JAD 911 3
Spooky 27 January 1992 LP/CD/double-10"/C CAD 2002 7
Split 13 June 1994 LP/CD/C CAD 4011 19 195
Lovelife 4 March 1996 LP/CD/C CAD 6004 8 189


Title Release Date Format Release Label Code
Gala 3 December 1990 LP/CD/C Worldwide 4AD CAD 0017
Cookie December 1994 CD Japan Nippon Columbia COCY-78365
Topolino August 1996 CD (9 tracks) Japan Nippon Columbia COCY-80351
Topolino August 1997 CD (12 tracks) Canada Polygram/4AD 76974 2110 2
Ciao! Best of Lush 19 March 2001 CD Worldwide 4AD GAD 2K22 CD

Singles and EPs

Title Release date Format Code UK Singles Chart[7] US Modern Rock[9]
Mad Love EP 26 February 1990 12"/CD/C BAD 0003 55
"Sweetness and Light" 15 October 1990 7"/12"/CD/C BAD 0013 47 4
"De-Luxe" March 1991 Radio promo CD PRO-CD-4662 14
"Nothing Natural"/Black Spring EP 7 October 1991 7"/C//12"/CD BAD 1016 43
"Nothing Natural" 29 October 1991 CD 9 40231-2 (US only) 22
"For Love" 30 December 1991 10"/12"/CD/C BAD 2001 35 9
"Superblast!" February 1992 Radio promo CD PRO-CD-5471
"Hypocrite" 30 May 1994 7"/12"/CD BAD 4008 52
"Desire Lines" 30 May 1994 7"/12"/CD BAD 4010 60
"Single Girl" 8 January 1996 7"/2xCD 1 BAD 6001 21
"Ladykillers" 26 February 1996 7"/2xCD 1 BAD 6002 22 18
"500 (Shake Baby Shake)" 15 July 1996 7"/2xCD 1 BAD 6009 21

1 The two CD releases for "Single Girl," "Ladykillers," and "500" had different bonus tracks on them.


Other appearances

  • "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" appears on Alvin Lives (In Leeds) Anti Poll Tax Trax (1990, CD, Midnight Music CLANG 4CD)
  • A live version of "Starlust" recorded on the NME Stage, Glastonbury on 27 June 1992 appears on In a Field of Their Own (1992, CD)
  • "Tiny Smiles" appears on Volume Two (1991, CD)
  • A demo version of "Desire Lines" appears on The 13 Year Itch (1993, CD, 4AD Cat. No. SHUFFLE)
  • An alternative version of "The Childcatcher" appears on All Virgos Are Mad (1994, CD, 4AD Cat. No. 45789)
  • A demo version of "Tinkerbell" appears on Volume Ten (1994, CD, RTM/Pinnacle 10VCD10)
  • "Undertow" (The Spooky Mix) appears on the Doom Generation soundtrack (1995, CD, Warner Bros / Wea B000002MAG)
  • "All This Useless Beauty", an Elvis Costello cover, appears on the Elvis Costello & The Attractions maxi-single for "You Bowed Down" (1996, CD, Warner Bros. Records)
  • "I Have the Moon" appears on the Nowhere soundtrack (1997, CD, Polygram Records B000001ERO)
  • "Last Night (Darkest Hour Mix)" appears in the 1997 movie City of Industry (film) (1997, CD, Polygram B000001EAG).
  • An instrumental version of "Light from a Dead Star" appears on the soundtrack to Joyride (1997, CD, 4AD/Warner Bros. 9 46825-2)
  • "Sweetness and Light" (The Orange Squash Mix) remixed by My Bloody Valentine appears on the Splendor soundtrack (1999, CD, Astralwerks ASW6282-2)
  • An instrumental version of "Light from a Dead Star" appears in the trailer for the movie Solaris (2002 film).
  • "Monochrome" appeared on "Late Night Tales The Flaming Lips" (2005 Azuli Records) a compilation by The Flaming Lips with whom Lush toured the USA in 1992.
  • "Sunbathing" appeared on "Never Lose That Feeling Volume 2" on Club AC30 Records in 2005. This version was recorded by Sing-Sing, Emma Anderson's subsequent band.
  • "Sweetness and Light" appeared on "Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi Shoegazing 1985-2009 Compiled by Rob Da Bank" on Soma Records in 2009
  • Lush's song "De-Luxe" is a playable track in the video games Rock Band 2 and Rock Band Unplugged.
  • Lush's song "Sweetness and Light" is a playable track made available for download for the Rock Band series of video games.
  • Lush recorded a cover of Wire's "Mannequin" for the 1996 tribute album Whore: Various Artists Play Wire, and their cover of "Outdoor Miner" appeared on the 2004 tribute album A Houseguest's Wish.

Band images


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Thompson, Dave (2000) Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman, ISBN 0-87930-607-6, p. 478-9
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Avril Lavigne settles 'Girlfriend' lawsuit". The Star (Toronto). 9 January 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 333/4. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  8. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p.138
  9. ^
  10. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p.849

External links

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