4 out of 5
Label: Brutal Panda
Produced by: Dave Downham
Very noteworthy. Full Bush feel like they’re one half-step away from really conquering that pure grunge mix of emotion and rock swagger and pop, something cycled through its influences and turned into a new, all-star breed. But they’re right on that verge between youthful rawness and self-aware band maturity; occasionally the lyrics fall down and are picked up by sweet hooks; occasionally they’re not quite so confident in those hooks and fall back on noise and barrage. None of this equals a bad song – these five tracks are all magnificently catchy or head-bangy, depending on the m.o. – but it means there’s generally a moment on a few songs where the immersiveness breaks a little bit. Spooky has a really interesting turn in the lyrics, for example, but can’t quite land it; Movie Night has a similar overreach and tries to cover it with crassness; both of these songs bring in volume to cover the blemish. Closer One Second is a longer-form stab at quiet-to-loud, and once it gets there, it’s punishing – but maybe moreso than necessary.
If that sounds like a lot of criticism, it’s more that the songs are almost perfect, such that these little hitches stick out. Interestingly, when the mood is more straightforward and the lyrics less attemptedly complex – Sweet N Low, Wild Heart – the group is at its most solid. The circle of lyricists (everyone gets a song or two) may attribute to the mix-and-match approaches, but I like the different “voices” it brings to the songs.
I sense the corner is about to be hit where Full Bush makes a turn, and settles into a fully matured groove that brings all this goodness forward and lets it breathe and find its own – band-led – path, instead of occasionally forcing it along. Still, even with that minimal flaw, this is an excellent EP, worthy of many revisits.
(Also, mad respect for getting Alex Eckman-Lawn on art duties.)