Review Summary: A short but sweet mini-album that shows a glimpse of what the understated U.K. shoegazers were capable of.
If there was one word to describe Lush, it would be understated. Hardcore shoegazers are most of who are aware of their significance to the genre's development through the late 1980's and early 1990's. But while starting a genre is quite an accomplishment, the band that popularized and mastered it is usually the one that takes all the glory (three guesses who). But while shoegazing would blossom into being mainly comprised of dense soundscapes and psychedelic effects, Scar
shows how minimalistic songwriting and simplicity can accomplish the same goal. Scar's
biggest strength lies in its ability to convey atmosphere and mood with a minimum of production flourishes or instrumental finesse. Simple guitar riffs and uptempo drumming throw the seasoned listener off with a very different sound altogether. "Baby Talk" beings with an upbeat bass intro before the rest of the band comes in and vocalist Emma Anderson repeats the lines "Swallowed her down, she's inside me. She's struggling now, she can't break free. And my eyes are closed, my lips are sealed. She can't escape but I can feel.
" Morbid lyrics like these add to the eeriness of the hypnotic guitar riffs. The album highlight "Scarlet" makes use of some dissonant riffs over angelic vocals and repetitive drumming to create a unique and eerie atmosphere far more sinister than most of Lush's genre contemporaries with a roaring crescendo closing it out.
By the time the 17-minute-long mini-album is over, Scar
makes it apparent that this is a very different type of shoegazing record. Dreamy atmosphere and psychedelia are everpresent but conveyed in a very different way. Overall Scar
sounds as much like a post-punk album in the vein of The Stooges as it does My Bloody Valentine. This influence would later show up in their last few releases, which lean toward Britpop more than anything else. While Lush's flirtations with late 80's genre tropes don't always amount to anything wholly original, they still make themselves known as unique and ultimately essential to the genre's development.