Blue Man Group's Latest Album Shows 'Astounding Level of Musicianship'

Plus, get reviews of offerings Lush, Guided By Voices, and more.

ByAllan Raible
April 27, 2016, 3:21 AM

— -- intro: There were albums released this week by artists other than Beyonce. Celebrated U.K. rock act Lush break a 20-year silence with their new EP, indie-rocker Robert Pollard re-ignites the Guided By Voices name, Blue Man Group releases their third proper studio album, Seattle band Candlebox returns and we get Lyle Workman’s score to the Netflix show, “Love.” Interestingly, two of this week’s offerings are largely instrumental, which I suppose makes this a pretty unusual set of reviews.

quicklist: 1title: Lush’s “Blind Spot” EP ****text: Lush’s “Blind Spot” EP is the band’s first release in 20 years. The group disbanded after 1996’s “Lovelife,” following the suicide of drummer Chris Acland. Thankfully, late last year they jumped back into action with members Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson and Phil King, now joined by Elastica’s Justin Welch on drums.

Two decades have passed and yet “Blind Spot” delivers in its quick four-song span what you would expect. Berenyi and Anderson still lead with assurance and while these tracks are more somber than previous singles like “Ladykillers,” “Single Girl” and “Hypocrite,” they still pack a shoegaze-y/dream-pop punch. There’s an understandable sense of melancholy here for much of the set but at the same time, this is very much the band you remember. Like My Bloody Valentine did a few years back with their “mbv” album, Lush, with this brief offering, have picked up where they left off.

“Out Of Control” sways like a dreamy waltz, “Lost Boy” has a haunted sadness, “Burnham Beeches” has a nostalgic sunniness and “Rosebud” seems like it is packed with tightly orchestrated drama.

“Blind Spot” hits the restart button for Lush and it provides a mannered but no less triumphant return for a band that was greatly missed. Two decades after tragedy ripped them apart, it’s nice to see this band back together. Let’s hope all goes well with their current live shows and that we eventually get a new full-length offering.

Focus Tracks:

“Out Of Control” As if built from a dream-pop manual, the way this song progresses fits perfectly within the conventions of the sub-genre and yet it plays like a welcoming lullaby. This song is soothing and beautiful and yet at the same time it is quite melodic.

“Burnham Beeches” More than anything Lush has ever recorded, this song actually sounds very much like something Ivy would have put on their album “Apartment Life.” There’s an exuberance to this song that isn’t present on the other songs here. It’s the set’s brightest offering.

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