Bush were one of the frontrunners of the second wave of grunge in the mid 90s. There debut album ‘Sixteen Stone’ which was released in 1994, remains one of the group’s greatest records to this day. It’s an album packed full of top quality, distorted and dirty sounding hits that fly at you one after another at rapid pace.
The flow of the album is unrelenting. The opening track ‘Everything Zen’ gives the listener an immediate indication of what they’re embarking on. It’s an exciting song; the main guitar riff is remarkable and the vocals are performed with a dedicated sound of desperation. It really lives up to the strengths grunge is still remembered for.
‘Little Things’ is similar in the way that it doesn’t give you a second to catch your breath. The drums always sound fulfilling and prominent rather than ending up in the background after a dodgy mix like so many modern rock albums. The production is fantastic throughout the entire record and really allows the instrumentation to breath without drowning out Gavin Rossdale’s vocal.
Lyrically the album can go to bizarre places, but it fits so well with everything else that’s happening musically that you ultimately overlook it. However, there are some displays of spectacular songwriting on the record. ‘Comedown’ is likely the best moment on the tracklisting and it’s the lyrics that elevate it to such a high level. As the chorus kicks in with “I don’t want to come back down from this cloud”, it’s clear to see what makes this song so special. In terms of sound it holds up as well as anything being released in the current day. It really is 90s grunge at it’s very best.
‘Glycerine’ is the song on the album that showed Bush would definitely have a future beyond the grunge movement. It’s the closest thing to a ballad on ‘Sixteen Stone’ but, it never gets caught trying to be something it isn’t. The distorted guitar strums and Rossdale’s ever-interesting and slightly alternative vocal delivery keep it on track. It shows just how forward-thinking this band were right from it’s inception.
Bush continue to release records even now and it’s clear to see why. Their debut album is one remembered fondly by so many; if you’ve never had the chance to listen to it there’s no better time than now. The album still stands up and sounds amazing. Grunge revival anyone?