The Sea of Memories - Bush

Metal, semi-metal, and heavy bands perpetually, when they're true artists, uplevel themselves, increasing various crafted articulations as time passes and as early fiery hungers somewhat abate. We saw that rather astonishingly in such thrash bands as Type-O Negative when that anarchic gaggle assumed cabaretic airs and produced a masterpiece like Bloody Kisses. Some years back, a bunch of friends, students, and others began turning me on to a new bunch of nu-bands like Cake, Godsmack, and Bush. They all sounded good and were enjoying success to greater or lesser degree, but a few appeared to be grasping for their true manifestation despite appreciable talent. Bush was one of those.

The band went through all kinds of turmoil, a couple break-ups, a lot of pensivity, and has finally re-emerged a decade after their last CD, Golden State (and if explanations for the failure of better sales might still be sought in retrospect, I'd advise the lads to start with the unbelievably bland cover: just a lackluster dijon-gold slab with the group's name in white, kinda like ya might find on a can of really cheap generic paint). The time proves to have been well-spent, producing a vaulting collection of highly polished songs with some surprising connections to U2 ("Red Light"), among other groups, including some of the shimmer of Mission UK - even, surprisingly, elements of the best of The Call, Big Country, the Fixx, and a fauna of Euro-arena ensembles. More than once, omnivorous listeners may even recall some of the production work of Conny Plank, especially Belfegore and rock-ier efforts. Regardless, the result is both radio worthy and doom-AOR solid, their emphasis clicked off on searching for a top o' da pops alt music chartbuster and onto a whole different level of music-making.

The presence of a wealth of keyboards, a semi-symphonic ambiance, and electronics may surprise older fans, as Sea is by no means as raw as the equally muscular but more stripped down Golden State, yet the transition isn't all that unlike, say, Radiohead's mutation into progtronically miasmic effulgence, though Bush lacks the Floydian influences and chillier shores of Thom Yorke's psychotic dark wave. Few would ever have expected to see Bush's work dubbed as 'beautiful', but there's much of that invading all aspects of the disc, what with its lavish atmospherics and ringing curtains of light and fog floating through the storms and lightning. All the basic materials of Golden State are here, but they've been tossed above the clouds to dwell with moody gods and demons, and that's precisely what's going to attract a whole new segment of the public to their music.

One might even draw comparisons, albeit not too overly strongly, given stylistic differences, to the mindblowing work of bands like Queensryche, Savatage, and the whole panoply of metal-theatre artisans. There's never enough of that stuff around, and it all too quickly disappears as groups reach impressive heights and then break up, suffer the deaths of key players, or just plain make really bad decisions (hey, Geoff Tate, it took ya 15 friggin' years to figure out Operation Mindcrime was your ace card?!?! Wassup wid dat?). Well, Bush has issued their so-far magnum opus. If it goes over as it should, Sea of Memory will be the dawn of their golden era.


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