Sunday, July 8, 2012
Tonight @ U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Though it sold like gangbusters, Bush's 1994 debut, Sixteen Stone, was derided by critics as a shameless attempt to polish grunge-rock for the masses. That feedback must have weighed heavily on frontman Gavin Rossdale, because he spent much of his subsequent career vying for critical credibility, working with esteemed engineer Steve Albini on Bush's 1996 follow-up, Razorblade Suitcase, going electronic on Bush's difficult third album, The Science of Things, and starting a band with Helmet's Page Hamilton during Bush's hiatus last decade. After so many failed experiments, it's something of a relief, then, that Bush's new reunion album, The Sea of Memories, is an unabashed grunge-pop album. The record is in many respects the purest sequel to Sixteen Stone the band has ever made, even though it was recorded with only half of the band's original lineup.