Mush – ‘Lines Redacted’ album review

Photo credit: James Brown

Mush follow up last year’s ‘3D Routine’ album with ‘Lines Redacted’, a record that finds main songwriter Dan Hyndman documenting the redacted and confusing nature of the world we now live in. He describes the twelve songs – that feature a variety of characters narrating – as a ‘Manifesto for Misinformation’.

The scuzzy Pavement-esque ‘Drink the Bleach’ kicks off the album with repeats of its titles before recent single ‘Blunt Instruments’ ramps up the tempo and takes it into a psych-pop direction complete with a line we’ve all been muttering over the past fre months: ‘It doesn’t make much sense’. The groove-laden hooks of ‘Positivity’ follow with talk of being a pessimist in a ‘happy, clappy, country’ backed against Deerhoof-meets-early Blur guitar hooks, while ‘Dusting for Prints’ has a mystery plot hidden within its stop-start soundscape: ‘Search party! What the fuck happened?’

The title track opens with a punkier sound thanks to its scattergun guitars before turning into something more experimental with a vaguely menacing message: ‘You’re here for a short while’. ‘Seven Trumpets’, on the other hand, finds Mush dipping into an almost baroque pop sound complete with self-depreciating talk of alley cats and ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’ before they break the fourth wall and reference their own band name on ‘Clean Living’. ‘Morf’ has minimal vocals, a new wave sound and crashing drums that bring to mind Stereolab before ‘Hazmat Suits’ (concepted before the pandemic but with verses rewritten during the first lockdown) takes things into a baggier direction with abstract turns, stop-start riffs and ‘our zaniest guitar solo to date’.

The short and spiky ‘B2BCDA’ reminded us of Super Furry Animals’ classic ‘Do or Die’ with its handclap-baiting drums and lyrics about going back to the Dark Ages before the album draws to a close on the 7-minute+ ‘Lines Discontinued’ – a song that discusses cancel culture amidst a waltzy alt-country sound before offering a foot-stomping climax.

With its gonzo pop sound, wry observations and melodies you’ll be humming for weeks, ‘Lines Redacted’ is a record you’ll want to shout about.

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