Years after Gavin Rossdale and Co. were pegged scrunge capitalists of alt-rock, the band’s new album, Golden State, seems like one of the most pleasant “alternatives” in a bleak nü metal soundscape. The disc kicks off in familiar Bush territory with typically simple melodic structures and equivocal lyrics on the tracks “Solutions” and “Headful of Ghosts.” The title of State’s first single, the riff-driven “The People That We Love,” was changed from “Speed Kills” for sensitivity reasons following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, yet more glaring are the political ambiguities of “Ghosts”: “I stand around at American weddings/I stand around for family/At my best when I’m terrorist inside/At my best when it’s all me.” (The aggressive “Land of the Living” offers up some strangely appropriate content as well: “Jetplanes, safe landing…This is the land of the living/The land of survival”.) The album’s ballads are a mixed bag; “Out of This World” is a slice of industrial minimalism that puts “Glycerine” to shame while “Inflatable” is a bit too lush-pop for its own good. Not all of State is typical Bush, however; thanks, in part, to producer Dave Sardy (Marilyn Manson), the band rocks harder—and better—than ever on tracks like “Reasons” and “My Engine Is with You.” They may have flown in on Nirvana’s coattails, but Mr. Gwen Stefani and his crew certainly know how to milk their 15 minutes.
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