At this stage Bush has suffered the barbs of so many critics complaining that they didn’t measure up as the next Nirvana, the Brits could be considered survivors of sorts. To their credit they never let the bastards get them down, and instead of shifting into an entirely different vibe to shut out the nay-sayers, the quartet just continues to pump out quality tuneful, thought provoking post-grunge guitar albums led by Gavin Rossdale’s sexy grits ‘n honey voice. After 1999’s The Science of Things tossed subtle techno loops into the mix, Bush retreats to their strengths on Golden State and churn out twelve songs in a back to the basics two guitars, drums, bass format. Look no further than the punchy “Reasons,” the first single “Solutions,” or the root-tootin’ breathless rocker “My Engine is With You” to realize that they’ve hit their mark here, as well worn as it might be.
While Rossdale’s lyrics can get too obtuse (“we need solutions, a brain megaphone“), or simplistic (“you be the match, I’ll be the fire“) for his own good, these songs rock without pretense or excuse. In other words, if you’re already a fan, you won’t be disappointed and if you’re not, this album, as sturdy as it is, probably won’t change your mind. But it should. Rossdale has become such a commanding vocalist that, similar to Cobain, he’s as convincing on the rockers as on the weepy ballads like the moody piano and drum driven “Out of this World” and the shimmering “Inflatable,” the album’s most affecting track. For all his Kurt-isms, you believe the guy when he emotes, even over-emotes, repeating “I die with you” to his recently lost love on the album closer, “Float.” Kinda brings a tear to your eye. So why fight it?
Bush has persevered with fortitude and class, making music that doesn’t take major stylistic leaps or chances, but also doesn’t take their fans for granted either. They’ve earned the right to stay put — artistically speaking — as long as it means releasing quality discs with as many solid songs and uncompromising performances as this. Just go with the flow and get swept along into Bush’s Golden State.