Bowery Electric’s third and final LP gets reissued via Beggar’s Banquet. Lushlife was originally unleashed in 2000, and boy does it sound it. This one’s got that real Moby/Mr. Scruff/Saint Etienne vibe to it, all mushy old film score samples and crackling breaks. It’s a pleasingly atmospheric listen and worthy of the re-release.
Vinyl LP £15.75 BBQ2154LP
Repress LP on Beggars Banquet.
The re-issue of Bowery Electric's second album 'Beat' has been vitally important in reminding us of what an inspired and forward thinking band they were. It made me utterly ashamed that I had not appreciated them more at the time they existed. Whereas 'Beat' was an incredible amalgamation of shoegaze, dub, ambience and trip hop, 'Lush Life' sees them strip away the noise and murk and produce something that fits in quite nicely with the eerie things the likes of Portishead and Massive Attack were making at the time. What it means is that though this record would have sound impressive in its day - the of-the-era production makes much of it it sound a little dated now.
The breakbeats and string samples are at times cliched (along with the dreaded 'scratching' effects) but if you can look past that what you have is a cinematic and grandiose take on trip hop that brings Martha Schwendener's vocals much more to the fore. There are great moments particularly the looping dubby title track, the cinematic eerie production of 'Saved' and in particular the gorgeous swirling instrumental 'Soul City' however the stripping away of the murk leaves this a much less intriguing album than 'Beat' particularly if you love the mysterious shrouded in fog feel of their earlier work.
If, though, you love trip-hop unconditionally and the production styles don't make you wince at the time you listened to 'Dummy' for van entire year without break then you may have found its holy grail here.
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- Lushlife by Bowery Electric
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