Sometimes deemed as Bush's In Utero, other times deemed as Bush's other album, but sometimes, and most unfairly, deemed as crap. Sure, this isn't the most independent, individual or even musically rewarding album, but it's hard to deny that at times it packs a rather large punch. The English quartet must not have gotten the memo; Grunge was dead in 1994, following the suicide of Kurt Cobain, who needs no introduction. But, as naive as these guys were to the American music scene, they not only continued to make the music they liked, but became the post grunge heart-throb of 1995, following the release of Sixteen Stone
. They soon became a band to watch out for, touring America as hardly as they could. The follow up Razorblade Suitcase
, was less successful. Hell, it was deemed Worst Album of the Year by Rolling Stone
. But, y'know what? It's quite an enjoyable album, if a little raw and unseasoned.
Bush - Razorblade Suitcase (1996)
Gavin Rossdale: Lead Vocals, Guitars,
Nigel Pulsford: Guitars
Dave Parsons: Bass
Robin Goodridge: Drums
Rising from grunge, just in time for the alternative craze of the mid Nineties, this album sounds almost like it hasn't decided which way to go. Of course, there are the frequent Grunge hits, but there are just some songs that really don't belong on the album at all. Take Swallowed
, for example. It's a masterful grunge piece, as dark as it is rocking. But then again, take a look at History
, a noisy, dirty and very unpolished song that falls in the middle of grunge and unlistenable noise. The song features fast riffs, and British as they can be vocals. The chorus is a puzzle that really doesn't fit with the verse. The song is different, but not as enjoyable as many others. Alternative? Perhaps. Grunge? Perhaps. What is it? Little more than noise.
Still though, as far this album is concerned, there are some downright spectacular songs ranging from the slow, mournful piece that is Synapse
, to the 70's punk/90's emo influenced A Tendency To Start Fires
. Both songs are great, if different, and equal in terms of performance. The vocals especially. Gavin is arguably one of the best Grunge singers of all time, with only a few exceptions. They suit the songs greatly, which are little more than a few power chords being hammered out of a guitar. The occasional solo comes in, with incredible results. Usually an unrehearsed blend of heavy distortion and occasional un-awarness of the sound, they're fun to listen to and seem to fit the songs every time.
Of course, some songs just fail to impress. Bonedriven
is a cheap Swallowed
mimic, but slower and more boring. Mouth
is a slow, cheap and very, very untalented song that features a very simple guitar, and the I-don't-care drums, minus the passion. The whole song itself lacks passion, as the band member do they're best, but end up almost trying to sound unexciting and very untalented in terms of they're music. The chorus is okay, featuring a simple chord structure that rips off Smells Like Teen Spirit
to a rather large extent. The vocals on both of these songs are quite fine, if a little dull to suit the music. Where are the intellegent lyrics? The crazy metaphors, the shouts of mayhem? Where?! Not here, that's for sure. Sure, they may feature some mild parts that can catch your ear for a limited time, but the little things cannot save the big aspects; the noise-infested, almost brainless filler songs. Oh, those filler songs! What can we do about them? Answer: Skip. Simple as.
There are a few lackluster songs, sure, but some songs burst with beauty and enrgy. The Glycerine
influenced, string chased solo guitar piece that can bring a tear to your face. The hard, rough edge of the singles, Greedy Fly
, and the slow paced, majestic finale track Distant Voices
, which, to a certain, extent, features some amazing, folk-sy guitar playing and the best vocal performance on the album. The album's slower, less Bush-grunge songs are definitely the best, which display they're softer side. Songs like Distant Voices
feature some insanely gloomy melodies, but under the surface is a relatively happy song. The best by far though, is the powerful Swallowed
, which is they're best single and/or song. The song has everything, a slow, climbing verse with promise, and then the chorus that features the best riff on the album, save for the mini-solo int Distant Voices
, and also features the little solo that could, a melodic and
fierce solo that really isn't heard that much on the album.
So. Is this album worth picking up? Yes, but be prepared for many filler songs or songs that sound exactly alike. This album would've definitely scored higher if it was fined down three songs, but sadly this album has some very cavernous lows. The songs that have an annoying riff with a very squeaky distortion, and the lyrics that make no sense and aren't even entertaining. Otherwise, the album has some incredible songs, mainly three songs that are definite classics in the Bush library. So, if you're looking for a good, rip roaring 90's flashback, you could definitely do worse than pick this up. Just ignore a few filler songs.
Thanks for reading,