Lush ‎– Spooky

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Style:
Year:
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Recorded at September Sound, London, July - October 1991

Tracklist

Stray 2:08
Nothing Natural 5:54
Tiny Smiles 4:27
Covert 3:35
Ocean 4:50
For Love 3:29
Superblast! 4:07
Untogether 3:34
Fantasy 4:27
Take 3:29
Laura 3:23
Monochrome 5:06

Versions (34)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
CAD 2002 Lush Spooky(LP, Album) 4AD CAD 2002 UK 1992 Sell This Version
cad d 2002 Lush Spooky(2x10", Album, Ltd) 4AD cad d 2002 UK 1992 Sell This Version
cad 2002 cd Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD cad 2002 cd Sweden 1992 Sell This Version
cad 2002 cd Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD, Play It Again Sam [PIAS] cad 2002 cd Belgium 1992 Sell This Version
RTD 120.1259.2 Lush Spooky(CD, Album) Rough Trade, 4AD RTD 120.1259.2 Germany 1992 Sell This Version
9 26798-2 Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD, Reprise Records 9 26798-2 US 1992 Sell This Version
30930 Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD 30930 France 1992 Sell This Version
cad 2002 cd Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD cad 2002 cd UK 1992 Sell This Version
COCY-9493 Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD COCY-9493 Japan 1992 Sell This Version
510 993-2 Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD 510 993-2 Canada 1992 Sell This Version
shock cd 1009 Lush Spooky(CD, Album) Shock (2), 4AD shock cd 1009 Australia 1992 Sell This Version
9 26798-2 Lush Spooky(CD, Album) 4AD, Reprise Records 9 26798-2 US 1992 Sell This Version
170.2002.20, cad 2002 cd Lush Spooky(CD, Album) Play It Again Sam [PIAS], 4AD 170.2002.20, cad 2002 cd Belgium 1992 Sell This Version
W2 26798 Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Club) Reprise Records, 4AD W2 26798 US 1992 Sell This Version
30944 Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Ltd) 4AD 30944 France 1992 Sell This Version
cad d 2002 cd Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Ltd) 4AD cad d 2002 cd UK 1992 Sell This Version
cad d 2002 cd, rtd 120.1259.2 Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Ltd) 4AD, Rough Trade cad d 2002 cd, rtd 120.1259.2 Germany 1992 Sell This Version
cad d 2002 cd Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Ltd) 4AD cad d 2002 cd Benelux 1992 Sell This Version
contedisc 184, cad d 2002 cd Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Ltd, Dig) Contempo Records, 4AD contedisc 184, cad d 2002 cd Italy 1992 Sell This Version
cad d 2002 cd, 510 993-2 Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Ltd, Dig) 4AD, 4AD cad d 2002 cd, 510 993-2 Canada 1992 Sell This Version
9 26798-2-DJ Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Promo) Reprise Records, 4AD 9 26798-2-DJ US 1992 Sell This Version
9 26798-2, 9 26798-2-DJ Lush Spooky(CD, Album, Promo) Reprise Records, Reprise Records 9 26798-2, 9 26798-2-DJ US 1992 Sell This Version
510 993-4 Lush Spooky(Cass, Album) PolyGram, 4AD 510 993-4 Canada 1992 Sell This Version
4-26798 Lush Spooky(Cass, Album) 4AD 4-26798 US 1992 Sell This Version
50930 Lush Spooky(Cass, Album) 4AD 50930 France 1992 Sell This Version
CAD C 2002 Lush Spooky(Cass, Album) 4AD CAD C 2002 UK 1992 Sell This Version
4-26798, W4 26798 Lush Spooky(Cass, Album, Club) 4AD, 4AD 4-26798, W4 26798 US 1992 Sell This Version
ZN 024 Lush Spooky(LP, Album) Zona Records ZN 024 Lithuania 1992 Sell This Version
CONTE 184 Lush Spooky(LP, Album) Contempo Records CONTE 184 Italy 1992 Sell This Version
cad 2002 Lush Spooky(LP, Album) 4AD cad 2002 Spain 1992 Sell This Version
ZN 024 Lush Spooky(LP, Album, Lam) Zona Records ZN 024 Lithuania 1992 Sell This Version
COCY-80092 Lush Spooky(CD, Album, RE) 4AD COCY-80092 Japan 1996 Sell This Version
cad 2002 cd, 0777 7881022 3 Lush Spooky(CD, Album, RE) 4AD, Virgin France cad 2002 cd, 0777 7881022 3 France Unknown Sell This Version
4-26798 Lush Spooky(Cass, Album, Promo, CrO) 4AD 4-26798 US Unknown Sell This Version

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muphasta

muphasta

February 2, 2019
referencing Spooky, LP, Album, CAD 2002
at first glance, it appears that I have a copy of the vinyl from Lithuania. But, it is 4AD and Zona, and has the ZN024 catalog number. Nowhere on the Lithuanian releases does it state 4AD. Could this be an unlisted US version of the vinyl?
Run out grooves:
A: ZN 024 1 ZONA (stamped)
B: ZN 024 2 ZONA (stamped)
Hawkeye1i1

Hawkeye1i1

June 18, 2018
referencing Spooky, 2x10", Album, Ltd, cad d 2002
I have a 2x10” version which is not in a gatefold sleeve. The matrix/runout details are the same as listed but there is no barcode anywhere. The covers are slightly different to the photos shown. Record was purchased from Our Price in the U.K. (I only know this because the records are housed in a labelled Our Price slip case).
terryplattarchive

terryplattarchive

July 19, 2014
edited over 4 years ago
referencing Spooky, CD, Album, cad 2002 cd
How long a review can I post? Here's the one I posted on Amazon - hope it brings inspiration and enlightenment to some of you!:

The BEST ALBUM EVER!!:

Best Albums EVER!!! only come along once or twice in a lifetime. From 1973 till 1996, my BAE!!! was the Genesis album Selling England by the Pound, with my favourite track being The Cinema Show (particularly the lengthy instrumental second half) (although the Beach Boys' Surf's Up always ran it a very close second. 'Not Pet Sounds?', I hear you cry... Ummm, yes, it's undeniably a fabulous album. But Surf's Up is, in my estimation, more satisfying musically and lyrically). The Cinema Show brought copious tears to my eyes every single time it hit the deck, which was very often.

As the years passed and the musical landscape evolved, music became less and less relevant to me, and I became more enamoured of the comedy shows I heard emanating from BBC Radio 4, in particular the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (comedy was becoming the new rock'n'roll). In 1992, I was working as a part-time day controller in a busy SW London mini-cab office, and frequently heard Saturday morning music programmes on the TV in the drivers' office, although I was rarely able to get away from the continual brouhaha at the front desk to watch anything.

One morning, it was tuned to ITV (as always - it was the only station the drivers understood), and The Chart Show came on. In the background I heard a succession of fairly run-of-the-mill tracks being played, accompanied by their videos. Nothing really stood out to me, until the track For Love was played. I was busy with dispatching cabs at the time, so I was unable to get out of my office to look at the video. But what I was hearing was pure beauty, and I had some vague notion that the track being played was by Lush (having read a review of it in the NME a short time earlier, and being vaguely familiar with the vocal sounds they made). I made a mental note to buy a copy of the single next time I was in a record shop - but as so often happens, it slipped out of my memory soon after this. Mini-cab office life has this dreadful effect of reducing your memory span to goldfish level.

Fast forward 4 years to May '96, and I'm in the Oxford Street HMV megastore on a monthly visit, and they've got one of their regular sales going on. I spent the best part of an afternoon shuffling through the racks, picking up CDs priced at £6.99 or less, and after a couple of hours or so, I've got very nearly an armful (...as Tony Hancock might have put it...) and I'm running out of time - I have to be home by 18:30... I'm on a bike... and the changeable spring weather is threatening to drench me, in my thin T-shirt and jeans, no jacket. Better get to the checkout... but wait, what's that I see peeking out of the next rack? A copy of Lush's Spooky for £5.99. Lush??? Hmmm... that strikes a distant chord - oh yes, that gorgeous track I heard in the cab office 4 years ago... I wonder if it's on that CD?... What was the title now??? Oh yes, I think it was For Love... and :)) :)) :))... it's on there! Can I afford another £5.99 on top of the hundred-quid's-worth I've already got here? For ONE track which I like, but which might be accompanied by 11 other tracks of possibly dull, industrial tedium which I won't? Ooooo-kay, quick, let's go for it!!

45 minutes later, I've hammered the bicycle through heavy rush-hour traffic and a rainstorm of biblical proportions, and I'm back at the flat, dripping wet, and in serious need of a coffee and some dry clothes. Put some of the new music on... first out of the bag is... Spooky. I'm standing there in the middle of the room with the rain dripping off my clothes and a fresh cup of hot black coffee, and the first notes of Stray (9/10) come scrawling out of the speakers. Not too sure about this... but wait: an overdriven, cranked-up slab of jangly guitars is overlaid by some columnar female vocal harmonies to sweeten the broiling, evil-sounding cauldron, and then there is an explosion of angry, jagged guitars. Only a little over 2 minutes long, it's over all too soon, but only to segué into the pulsating, menacing screed of effects-laden mediaeval incantation of Nothing Natural (10/10). This is a blistering, incandescent wall of noise, with effects aplenty - but only adequate to the track's air of barely concealed fury and menace. Many of the vocal lines here take on a raga-like quality as Miki's voice slithers around the ends of each line. I love the way where, at 2 points, 3:42 and 4:56, the backing almost completely drops out, leaving the song stranded on an empty planet, and builds again, leaving Emma's rising 3-note guitar clusters to carry the piece back to full-on power-blast (the 3-note phrases actually start a whole lot further back than you might realise, at 4:02, but buried deep in the dense mix, only become prominent some way later, when you realise she's been doing this for a while... the stunning, multi-layered, contrapuntal, wordless vocal harmonies build up and up and orbit the gravitational well of the bass with such skill that details like this only become apparent with repeated listening). As if this isn't enough of a tasty mélange, the whole of the last minute and a quarter is then suffused with stereo-panned white noise swooshes and phased guitar, which ends up after 5 and a half minutes in a maelstrom of Emma's arpeggiated triplets and Robin Guthrie's overlaid swirling effects. Pure genius, and along with For Love and the album's closing track, the most utterly, blissfully beautiful and commandingly authoritative tracks in my entire collection. This is at once definitive shoegaze, and yet entirely of itself.

All bets are off after this: what comes next could be almost anything - and yet it's surprising for the foregoing blitz of sound to be supplanted by the sweetest pop song you could ever imagine coming from this genre of music. Tiny Smiles (10/10) has one of the most deceptively tricksy melodies, which must have been really difficult to sing, but sounds effortless (try whistling it, and you'll see what I mean!) It completes the best opening trio of contiguous songs on any album EVER, and although there are no keyboards on this album, the brief instrumental breaks on this track would be totally worthy of infilling by one of Tony Banks' decorative herbaceous (key)borders so prevalent on and signatory to any Genesis album; it is tribute to Miki and Emma's talents that it survives winningly without such intervention. If only for these 3 opening tracks, you really need to buy this album.

But wait! - there is so much more...

When they talk about shoegazing, the cornerstone names that always come up are My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride, Cocteau Twins, Moose, The Pale Fountains, Chapterhouse, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, and others. Yet the true geniuses of the genre are so often sidelined. Lush were the finest exponents of the style by several country light years, simply because they alone realised that for the genre to have appeal beyond the narrow confines of the inward-looking, uncompromising limits imposed by the clique that embraced it, it needed smart melodies and great production. I completely disagree with all the naysayers who continually berate Robin Guthrie for swamping Lush's music in suffocating effects. The fact that it is difficult to decipher much of the lyrical content on Spooky only adds to its extant air of mystery. Most of the words will eventually tease out with repeated listening - which is never less than enjoyable anyway - and any phrases which perpetually defeat you can be found in various places on the internet. The distinctive, complimentary vocal tones and timbres of Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson were always, in any case, employed as much for additional instrumental colouring and sculpting of the overall soundscape as for the more usual vehicles for lyrical delivery. Robin Guthrie recognised that salient fact, and enhanced what was always there, yet unheard. The hallmark of a great producer is that he endeavours to bring out new qualities in a band, qualities often hitherto unsuspected by even the band themselves.

The standout tracks on the rest of the album, after the nice-but-slightly-directionless Covert (7/10) and Ocean (7/10), all come at and after the half-way mark. For Love (10/10) still brings tears to my eyes all these years later, with its storyline of a naïve but precocious girl who thinks she knows what love is all about, but can never break through some invisible barrier into a genuine loving relationship. The instrumental break is beautifully heartbreaking, particularly when the melody lines are stereo-harmonised; the vocal melody is somehow redolent of a French character, and the call-and-response lines on the fade give the song a timeless, wide-eyed hopelessness, reflecting the often incomprehensible nature of the human condition itself. Is this the best pop song ever? Shame on the British record-buying public for its tragically short 2-week chart run, peaking at a barely credible #35. What is wrong with people?

Superblast! (10/10) comes slamming in boisterously on the fading, fluttering coat-tails of For Love with an almost indecent lack of respect for the questions left spinning round your head by its predecessor, and is a crazy, manic joyride through an empty, moonless, fluorescent and neon-lit, nighttime cityscape. The instruments are so powerful and exuberant, with a propulsive bass that almost takes the skin off your teeth, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that soaring, aviation-fuelled, harmonised female vocals had no place here - yet somehow they do, and somehow they do very well indeed. The song careers and lurches dangerously to its ultimate screeching demise, hurtling to a grinding halt in a sandbank as it runs out of gas. As your head is still reeling from the inevitable chaotic end, they do it again, as...

...it's superseded by the four-square pretty-pop of Untogether (10/10) - which is anything but. Another lovely tune, with elliptical melodies, and an instrumental break which seems to paint itself into a corner but, brilliantly, like a musical Möbius, invents a temporary new dimension to step into and get out of it! And listen out for the springs uncoiling at the start of each 2-line chorus phrase, and the way in which Miki's voice, in sheer exasperation, swoops to its possibly lowest register at the end of the line '...I wish you'd just leave me alone'.

2 more fairly straightforward songs follow, in the shape of Fantasy (8/10), which is pretty, and Take (7/10), which is less so - but Spooky's 'pretty' and 'less so' would be long-sought musical holy grails for most bands.

Another pulverising, bass-driven track, Laura (9/10), comes next. I didn't like this track much at first - and I did worry that my neighbours would get seriously unfriendly with me if I played it too loud, too often or too late. But it gradually revealed its charms, with more seemingly out-of-context yet, over time, perfectly congruous sweet female harmonies overlaid on the pounding, thundering, coruscating backing track, and is now, for me, one of the most impressive tracks on the album. It's a close relative of Superblast!, with a similar adrenaline rush. What the neighbours thought is not recorded - though I've had no complaints yet.

Finally, as the crushing melée subsides, it crossfades and melts gently into one of THE finest and most perfect tracks on ANY album EVER, Monochrome (10/10 - higher numbers are available). If ever a piece of music was paradoxically titled, this is it! A warm blend of primary-coloured, multi-layered harmonies swoon from infinite powder-blue horizons over a languorous 3/4 time signature (bloody unusual for anything in this genre, or even rock generally, to so unashamedly and effectively use the waltz beat!), with swaying, zephyr-kissed palm trees in the middle distance, and a keening melody to die for, long before you've achieved any of those items on your '100 Things To Do Before You Die' list, and contrives to bring back lost memories of times and tides that maybe never existed, and are yet so familiar. Here the band's influences are laid out for all to see - somewhere in this collage are all the sounds of the 60s, California, psychedelia before it went bonkers, Brian Wilson and everything he would have done if he'd had girls in the band (and if you've ever heard the album by American Spring - Marilyn and Diane Rovell, the former of whom was his wife - and which he produced and the Beach Boys contributed to in no small way, you'll know how Lush dovetail so flawlessly with this sound on Monochrome). In this song, Lush actually FIND the lost chord (it follows the continually repeated, descending 'Oo-ooo ooo oooo's at the end of each chorus, an impossible handful of notes that seems to be drawing the next line both up and down simultaneously).

Placing this track at the end of the album was a masterstroke: it is this piece more than any other which ultimately makes sense of the whole album, and confers a sense of eternal continuity on what may initially seem a bewildering hurly-burly. The long decay to silence of the final note will echo naggingly round your head for ages, just beckoning you back to the beginning, to listen again... and again... and again... and again...

Oh, and BTW, my favourite lyric of the whole album is in the chorus of Monochrome - '...and sometimes I think if I look at the phone it may ring' - yes, of course! How often have we all had that mundane thought, only to dismiss it in mere moments? Yet it happened to me, once - SPOOKILY shortly after I first heard this album. Just how SPOOKY is that!!

So... 48 minutes later, I'm still rooted open-mouthed to the spot in the middle of the room, clothes and hair still wet but no longer dripping... and what did I do next? Play the next CD out of the bag? Change into some dry clothes? Feed the cats - or myself? Well, no, none of the above. I was so utterly gobsmacked, I played the whole thing again! In total, I played it 6 times that night, and at least once a day for about the next 6 months. Sometimes on speakers, sometimes on headphones, sometimes on random track shuffle, and no matter how many times I heard it, or in whatever configuration, I always heard something new, some previously unnoticed nuance in the mix that hadn't shown out before. And that, really, is the point: I was well used to listening to albums in great detail in the 70s, and all the stuff by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Mike Oldfield, Caravan, The Moody Blues, Renaissance, Tangerine Dream, Todd Rundgren, Be Bop Deluxe, and many other bands who went to great trouble to create complex and interesting sound pictures, left a legacy in my mind that this is the kind of painstaking work that, with advancing technology, really should be lavished on the creativity of today's musicians. Not, I emphasise, the use of technology for the sake of it, but employing ideas to enhance the music wherever possible. So often when listening to Spooky, I find myself mesmerised and suspended in a floating, unreal otherworldliness where time ceases to have any meaning (and that still happens, even after giving up the puff-i-stuff in '07!)

Unfortunately, this meticulous approach to production was all but blown out of the water by the mid-70s punk explosion, and was dealt further death blows by hip hop and rap (cue: rant about hip hop and rap being creatively redundant, full of shouty hate and threat, devoid of real music, and fuelled by arrogant posturing and greed for finery, sex and notoriety - Yes!! that's always been my opinion - but who do I regard as the most creative and interesting artiste on the planet today? Nicki blinkin' Minaj, that's flippin' who!!! If only all hip hop and rap could be this much fun, while still being musically inventive and attractive). Innovation and imagination have only quite recently started slowly to creep back into acceptance, following the protracted onslaught of the bland-out carpet bombing of our musical culture by the unstoppable Cowell régime, but in their time, Lush were a lone voice in the wilderness who achieved one peerless, perfect masterpiece before being brought up sharply with the diktat 'Thou shalt write simple, pretty, commercial songs that we, your paymasters, can sell to the uneducated, undemanding masses, and constantly repackage for ever-more-lucrative profits. Thou shalt do nothing interesting, unusual or creative which we and our clone cohorts are too stupid to understand, and which we don't know how to market'. OK, so their subsequent albums, Split and Lovelife, were nowhere near as bad as that tirade implies. They weren't bad at all. They contained some splendid material - but I felt they lacked the broad, breathtaking sweep and unified vision of sci-fi-informed inscrutability that gave Spooky its unique contours.

My appreciation of Spooky and Lush revived my interest in music generally, and this process continues unabated to this day, half way through my 66th year, and still building a 50-year collection beyond 10,000. Thank you, Lush and Robin Guthrie for showing me the way back to something which I thought, in the 80s, was all but over for me. I'm only sad that I cottoned on to Lush's spectral beauty and sparkling shimmer far too late to catch them live: only a few months after that Damascene experience, drummer Chris Acland took his life, and having already shed a bassist, the wind went out of their sails, and Lush were no more. Emma did try bravely for another 10 years to keep a Lushesque flag flying with Sing-Sing, who made 2 very creditable albums and a clutch of very decent singles, all of which had a certain stamp of individuality and hallmark of true quality about them. And happily, I did see them live - 3 times, and on each occasion in small venues with very appreciative audiences, and close enough to touch Emma's guitar. But even they called it a day in early 2008 - and the rest was silence. Except the records, which are cherished gems and still get played regularly.

Two heartfelt pleas:

1: Miki and Emma - how about putting Lush back together again in some form, even if for only a short time. Your music was beautiful, timeless and extraordinary, and deserves to be played to a new audience (which will include me!) You know, music, once made, is made for ever, and for as long as it can be played by the original musicians and writers, it should be. Such rich fruits should not die on the vine. This lengthy review has been written under the long shadow of the recent demise of 2 genius guys who did their thing till the very end: Patrick Moore, and Ravi Shankar. It is yours for all your days, and it is everybody's.

2: 4AD, where is that long-awaited compilation of hard-to-find B-sides, flexi discs, foreign issues and other rarities? There are enough to fill a double CD to the rafters - I know, I've done it (on audio cassette, at least)!

Finally, now here's the thing: After Spooky, I was impelled to track down every last item in the Lush catalogue. Having realised that they had made so much great music outside of the confines of the album, and that the follow-ups were never going to match up, I made a compilation of tracks which I felt could have been issued as the follow-up. I tried to give the collection something of the same rise and fall, and mirrored halves that were apparent to me. If you want to try this one at home, here are the tracks:

1: Scarlet (demo version from Gala)
2: Thoughtforms
3: Demystification
4: Sweetness And Light
5: Sunbathing
6: Breeze
7: Lit Up
8: Starlust (version from For Love CD single)
9: I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
10: Outdoor Miner
11: Fallin' In Love
12: Lovelife
13: Cat's Chorus
14: Etheriel

I think you'll find this would have made an excellent album to follow Spooky. If you have any difficulty locating any of these tracks, post me a message here, and I'll give you all the details.

Interesting final fact: the estimable Sing-Sing did a cover version of Sunbathing, which was only issued on a compilation called Never Lose That Feeling (Volume 2), on Club AC30 in 2006. Pretty hard to find now, I expect. Good luck with that.

Thanks for reading - this review has been a long time coming. I wanted to do it full justice.