Release Date: Mar 10, 2017
Record label: Caroline
Black and White Rainbows, the seventh full-length from Bush, arrived a year after frontman Gavin Rossdale's divorce from Gwen Stefani. The emotional fallout permeates the album, as Rossdale processes his feelings with declarations like "Still got mad love for you baby" and "I will always be yours." Surprisingly, it's not a completely dour-sounding affair. Opting to focus on positivity and the big picture, Rossdale -- 51 and the father of four at the time of release -- managed to craft a collection of adult contemporary hard rock that is fittingly mature and somewhat optimistic (radio-friendly single "Mad Love" is a prime example).
Leafing through Bush's UK press cuttings is enough to make you wince. Back in the mid-90s, the alt.rockers were that rarest of beasts: a British band embraced by America (to the tune of 20 million album sales), but critically eviscerated on home turf, where the earnest angst of singles like Swallowed jarred with the goonish knees-up of the Britrock movement. "We were a very weird story," frontman Gavin Rossdale told this writer, "because everyone was so pissed off at our success.
B ewilderingly popular in 90s USA, Gavin Rossdale's post-grunge outfit never got much of a foothold in their homeland, were savaged by critics and largely overlooked by a paying public otherwise occupied by Britpop. Now, though, with the sudden exposure provided by his unlikely judging stint on The Voice, Rossdale is suddenly a recognisable face on these shores, and - timing! - his band have a new album out just as the series draws to a close. Could this finally be the moment that Bush break Britain? On the evidence of Black and White Rainbows, it remains unlikely.
"Just wanted to be myself" - 'Swallowed' "Never seem to get in the place where I belong" - 'Letting The Cables Sleep' "At my best when it's all me" - 'Head Full Of Ghosts' "I found the strength to be me" - 'The Mirror Of The Signs' "I haven't felt myself for so long" - 'Just Like My Other Sins' Ever since Bush's initial wave of success with Sixteen Stone in 1994, Gavin Rossdale has been searching for himself. Reviled in the UK (see Johnny Cigarettes' 1996 NME review: Shit Suitcase) and beloved in the US, he's spent 20 years torn between his restrictive, successful lane and something more individual. However, because this quest for individuality has spanned two decades, his audience is fragmented.