There are many bands that have tried to go back to their roots while still remaining relevant but, often the end result isn’t quite what it should be or it feels rehashed. That is not the case with the new album The Kingdom by Bush. Their new album is refreshing and a welcome back to what many loved about them in the first place. Let me start off by saying this is a full on rock album and Gavin and company have really delivered. If you’ve been waiting for them to get back to some good riff rock, this is the album for you.
From the time the album starts to till it ends, the consistency and balance of rock is there. Gavin Rossdale promised a “heavy” album and he along with his band have truly delivered on that. The album is chock full of riff heavy songs like “The Kingdom,” “Ghost In The Machine,” “Bullet Holes,” “Blood River,” and “Our Time Will Come.” There are also the more melodic heavy songs like “Flowers On A Grave,” “Send In The Clowns,” “Quicksand,” “Crossroads” and “Falling Away.” One of the more standout tracks is “Undone,” which has some similarities to the more mid tempo songs in the bands catalog but, it feels fresh and current.
The Kingdom is a bit nostalgic but, not in a bad way. It has the best elements of both Sixteen Stone and Razorblade Suitcase along with a bit of an Institute vibe. Also, Gavin working with Tyler Bates (who helped resurrect Marilyn Manson’s career with the great album, The Pale Emperor) has made a real impact and have made Bush relevant again in 2020. Another element that makes this album truly good are the performances by Chris Traynor and Corey Britz. Both of these guys have a very distinct style and it shines through on these songs. Most of the drums on the album were done by Gil Sharone (Current drummer Nik Hughes played on the title track and “Flowers On A Grave” and he did a killer job as well) and his work on this album is pretty damn stellar as well as usual. The songs on this album when played live will be huge. I can’t wait for the day that comes again. The only thing that feels off about this album is how the songs were put in order. Personally, I would have chosen the title track, “The Kingdom” to start the album off with.
If you have given up on Bush, this is the album that will definitely bring you back into the fold. If you are looking for a really solid rock album, this is one that you should really take a listen to.
I thoroughly enjoy making these Ultimate Set Lists. It’s quite fun to think of a dream scenario where you get to pick all the songs (well up to 25) for a live show. One band I’ve been listening to a lot lately is Bush. Mainly I’ve been listening to their new single “Bullet Holes” from the John Wick 3 soundtrack. It’s such a rad song that takes me back to the Sixteen Stone and Razorblade Suitcase days. Currently, Bush is out on tour with Live as both bands are celebrating the 25 year mark of their albums Sixteen Stone and Throwing Copper. I was intrigued to go to the show but, not sure I really want to knowing that the setlist for both bands are rather short and kind of dull. So, I went ahead and made my own Ultimate Set List for what I’d love to hear Bush play live.
Guideline 1: What line up of the band would it be
Guideline 2: Where would you want to see the show
Guideline 3: maximum 25 songs (In order of how the set should go)
Lineup: Gavin Rossdale, Nigel Pulsford, Chris Traynor, Robin Goodridge, Dave Parsons,
Venue: Wiltern Los Angeles
01) Personal Holloway
02) Little Things
03) The Gift
04) Insect Kin
05) The Sound Of Winter
07) The Chemicals Between Us
09) The Heart Of The Matter
10) Cold Contagious
11) Loneliness Is A Killer
12) Bullet Holes
13) Greedy Fly
16) A Tendency To Start Fires
17) Disease Of The Dancing Cats
20) Letting The Cables Sleep
Bush is back and it seems they have brought a “heavier” approach to their new music. Today the Gavin Rossdale fronted band released the song “Bullet Holes.” This track was co-written by Gavin and Tyler Bates (you might recognize him from his work with Marilyn Manson as well as his work on film scores like John Wick and Guardians of the Galaxy). “Bullet Holes” is also featured in the new John Wick film (John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum). This is definitely the sound that many older Bush fans have been waiting for. Bush plans to release their new album titled, The Mind Plays Tricks On You, this fall, and it features 4 songs co-written by Rossdale and Bates. In my personal opinion, after what Tyler Bates was able to do with Marilyn Manson on his The Pale Emperor album, I’m quite intrigued by what he can do with Gavin and Bush.
The 90’s are really trying to claw it’s way back into music, and that is a good thing. The influence of so many great bands from the era are really shining with a newer generation of bands. Not to mention the revival of so many great bands from the 90’s that are getting back together and releasing new music. One band I’d love to see get back together is Orange 9mm. Formed in 1994, they released their major label release Driver Not Included in 1995. This album was produced by Dave Jerden (Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains). Orange 9mm had a punk rock mentality that came across in their music all the while being able to throw in other influences that made separated them from the pack. While touring on their first album they shared the stage with bands such as Quicksand, Deftones, Korn and Helmet. The follow up to Driver Not Included was the fabulous album Tragic which was produced by David Sardy (Helmet, Marilyn Manson), Sadly though before the first tour for the album founding member Chris Traynor left the band to go play for Helmet. Not one to retreat, Chaka Malik and the others carried on. They spent a good amount of time writing and recording a great deal of material under a wide range of influences. Periodically, the band would perform one-offs and small weekend runs; during this period they released a split EP in Japan. Following the release of their EP, Ultraman vs. Godzilla, the band released what would wind up being their final album, 1999’s Pretend I’m Human.
Orange 9mm was a band that was full of energy and intensity. Their music had that flair that Quicksand had as well as the diversity as the Deftones. It’s too bad they didn’t last longer with their original lineup, they really could have made a bigger name for themselves.
It’s never easy to recreate the magic of a first album. You have your entire life to write your first record. After that what’s left? Some bands are able to carry on and continuously put out solid albums, some better than others. Then there are those that lost a step or two and struggled to get it back. This year is the 20th anniversary of the album Sixteen Stone by Bush. This is also the year of their newest album Man On The Run. While this album isn’t classic like Sixteen Stone is, Man On The Run is the best thing they have put out and done since Razorblade Suitcase. The writing is back to basics for Gavin Rossdale. His lyrics are mature and full of prowess. There is a bit of a sensual vibe to the way the words come out. musically its a far more cohesive album, that spans all genres of rock. One of the best tracks on the album “The Gift,” is a perfect example of this. The lead single “The Only Way Out,” is a prime example of Gavin grown up. The title track is a cool song with bits of swagger that almost sets the tone for how the album sounds. And for those that miss the rock check out “Loneliness Is A Killer.” The entire album is a gem. If you are a fan of Bush from way back, this is going to get you back into the band.