If it seems like it's been a loooonnnggg time since anyone took much notice of this British post-grunge act, well, it has been. Bush's last charting hit, "The Chemicals Between Us," topped the modern rock chart in December 1999. The band, fronted by Gavin Rossdale (who's probably better known lately as Gwen Stefani's husband), actually did put out an album in 2001, Golden State. But it was barely a blip on the pop culture radar, with sales figures far below the multiplatinum high-water mark the band repeatedly enjoyed in the 1990s.
Now that the band is back (sans two of its original four members) with a hit on the rock chart, two questions immediately pop into my mind: 1) How do they play? 2) What do they say? The answer to the first one is easy: The new iteration sounds pretty much like what you'd remember from the grungy '90s. Which means a brooding sonic curtain struck through with fuzzy-but-searing guitars. The second, however, may never get fully satisfied. I'll start with this: We encounter lyrics that seem to be about holding on when life feels overwhelming.
"Mind strong, body strong," Rossdale begins, articulating his attitude as he looks both backward and forward. "Try to find equilibrium/Head straight, screwed on/We screwed up for too long." Despite apparent mistakes in the past, however, he's committed to keep walking beside, it would seem, the woman he loves. In context, "Let's walk through the fire together/Disappear in the golden sands" evokes gritty determination, not a nod to slipping into eternity.
As for her contribution to the relationship, at the very least she's having a hard time of it ("It's all in your face/I see you break/ … The bleeding love, the silent escape"). But he encourages her to persevere, to be true to herself ("You've got to hang on to yourself/It's like the sound of winter").
Rossdale's also trying to hang on to her, even though that doesn't seem as if it's always an easy task, given her apparent tendency toward betrayal ("Medusa smiles, Judas lips/Open arms and finger tips/Love bites and recompense/I'll be with you until the end").
It's a cold and foggy path Bush is on here. But it doesn't end in despair. We're left with the refrain, "Hang on to yourself."