Lush’s development from doe-eyed, pouty-lipped dream poppers to Britpop almost-weres delineates the weird state of breakthrough indie rock from the first part of the ’90s. Their 1989 Scar EP showed off a noisy, jangling hybrid—a remarkable fusion of Cocteau Twins in one corner and My Bloody Valentine in the other with lots of opaque, non-discernable lyrics. 1990’s EP was even prettier and more melodic, with the strange meter of “De-Luxe” providing maybe their best song. Lush, as their studio albums would attest to, had more pop leanings than most; covers of vintage European cuts“Hey, Hey Helen” and “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” confirmed their strengths were catchiness and not overwhelming instrumentation.
With an increasingly flamboyant Englishness pushing out the fringed element in the music weeklies, Lush moved toward a more streamlined approach—this meant sing-songy numbers like “Single Girl” and “Ladykillers.” These were tight pop songs in the Blondie vein that brought the band their biggest chart success, but this was shortly followed by the tragic suicide of drummer Chris Acland, which effectively ended the on-the-rise band. This comprehensive new box set collects it all with plenty of live sessions, demos, and the inevitable ’90s remix to satiate any fan or curious bystander. Nothing visionary here, but it’s a pleasant enough musical journey with a serious bummer of an ending—hopefully one vindicated by this reunited victory lap.