If there’s been one thing that the music community has been all about the last several years, it’s been the reformation of broken up bands. Maybe it goes hand-in-hand with the movie remake frenzy that Hollywood is currently on. There is always money to be made on nostalgia.
Take ‘90s alt-rockers Bush, for example. Just when lead singer Gavin Rossdale was becoming more known for being Mr. Gwen Stefani and having a mediocre measure success back in 2008 with the solo hit “Love Remains the Same”, he decided to make longtime fans jump for joy by reforming his beloved British post-grunge act Bush. Well, half reforming it. Not all original members are present here, the only two being Rossdale and drummer Robin Goodridge. Bass duties are covered by newcomer Corey Britz and guitars are provided by pseudo-newbie Chris Traynor, who, even before the hiatus of Bush came into being in 2002, began collaborating with Rossdale, and continued that relationship during their run as the Bush knockoff band Institute from 2004 to 2006, and then again on Rossdale’s solo album Wanderlust.
Bush’s reunion album, The Sea of Memories, is their first in just over a decade. The last time the public heard from them was back in 2001 with their moderately received Golden State. To put it simply, Bush’s previous albums in order of worst to greatest would be Razorblade Suitcase (1996), Golden State (2001), The Science of Things (1999), and their debut album Sixteen Stone (1994). The Sea of Memories would fall between Golden State and The Science of Things. In other words, it is middle of the road.
At first, The Sea of Memories sounds promising. Its first two tracks “The Mirror of the Signs” and lead single “The Sound of Winter” make it sound almost as though it is going to exhibit a band with a new lease on life. But from there it delves into a sea of fairly forgettable rock songs that lead from one into the next, which makes it ironic that the album’s title is The Sea of Memories. And there are definitely moments where Rossdale rides his own coattails. For instance, the chunky background guitar on the ballad “All Night Doctors” sounds like it was lifted directly out of one of Bush’s most famous songs “Glycerine” from their debut album.
The Sea of Memories will both please and disappoint longtime lovers of the band. People who haven’t heard Bush before won’t know the difference and will be pleased with a halfway decent rock album. But at the end of the day it’s exactly what listeners would expect from today’s average band reunion. It’s probably enough to resurrect Bush’s career out of total obscurity, but depending on if they release another album after this, it may be nothing more than a last hurrah.