LTTP Album Review: Bush – Man on the Run

I know, I know, its not metal. I like Bush though. At least I used to back in the day. I was on a “reliving my youth” music kick and decided to check out their last album. You know what? Its great!

I haven’t really followed or cared about Bush since the hugely disappointing Golden State. It had a great first single, but the rest of the album was really, really bland and forgettable. I mean, I guess there was only one album between that one and this, but it was still over a decade. Let’s get crackin’ on this album, shall we?

Firstly, let me just state that I think this is the their (and by their, I guess I mean Gavin’s now since 2 members left back around Golden) best album since Razorblade Suitcase. Yes, I even think it’s better than The Science of Things. The songs have great hooks, but don’t over-do the gloss like Golden State did. They feel just raw and immediate enough to have life while retaining that radio sheen. I mean, sure most of the songs are very standard in structure, but they live so well there that I don’t care.

The overall sound of the album is very coherent and I’m really digging it. The little electronic flourishes along with Chris Traynor’s super well placed and composed lead guitar lines really bring a different sound to Bush that works well. While I still miss the crazy and noisy leads that Pulsford brought to the table, the direction that Traynor goes is a welcome differentiation from the band‘s earlier work and flows perfectly with their current sound. You can really hear the balance being struck between the modern synth-y elements and the straight out grunge rock on tracks like Dangerous Love and the album opener Just Like My Other Sins. I feel like this is what Rossdale had wanted to do with Bush’s music since Science and he finally achieves it here.

Rossdale turns in a great performance as well. He’s comes with a lot of the things you expect via his timing, note choice, and that great little thing he does where he repeats few lyric pieces over a chorus. The difference here is that unlike the last two albums, he really sounds like he’s in the moment and very invested in the content. His lyrics are also several steps up from the stream of consciousness stuff he used to do. My only real complaint about him on this album is his continued use of pitch correction. He doesn’t and has never needed it and it severely hampers the emotion in his performance.

I need to geek out about the guitar tones on this album for a second. So good. I read in an interview that they used lots of cheap and/or old “garage sale” guitar equipment to get these sounds and it ends up being just plain amazing. I’ve always been a huge fan of “just bad enough” guitar tones and this album nails it. Scratchy but full. Dirty but articulate. Straight up some of the best guitar sounds I’ve ever heard on an album.

As a Bush fan longing for the days of yore, this album scratches that itch while maintaining a great progression in style and song-craft. That is a really hard thing to do for a band and Bush completely pulls it off on this one. If you are at all a fan of radio rock or feel like a bit of 90’s nostalgia, this album has both. Make sure to check it out!

Stream it via the band’s official Youtube channel below:

LTTP Album Review: Bush – Man on the Run