Best tunes of 1992: #12 Lush “For love”

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Having reached my teen years growing up in a small town, wheels became an absolute necessity. I didn’t get my driver’s license until 1992, much later than my other friends, and only because I wanted to beat the implementation of graduated licensing in Ontario, Canada (those from the province of a certain age will know of what I speak). But even after getting my license, there was always the hurdle of convincing my parents to loan me their vehicle for the evening.

Luckily, we had a few friends in our group that had their own car or had no similar difficulties in borrowing one from their parents, and one of these was our friend Tim. Even when he went off to university, he had no problem getting his father’s keys whenever he was back in town for a visit. And though we appreciated being able to get anywhere within driving distance on most nights, it didn’t stop us poking fun at the malfunctioning climate controls or the fact that the fuel gauge was perennially on empty. We never did run out of gas, to everyone’s surprise, and Tim always ended the night by putting $2-3 in the tank to keep the needle just above the red mark.

Of course, there was always great tunes pumping out of the factory-installed speakers on those evenings out on the town. Tim seemed to have a new mix in the cassette deck every single time and though we always jokingly slagged him for his tastes, I was always discovering new bands this way. Which brings us to our song at the number twelve spot on my best tunes of 1992 list.

It was either late November or early December in 1992. It was most definitely a cold evening because I remember Tim having to rub away a small window in the frost that had accumulated on the inside of the windshield. He was back for the weekend from Waterloo university and we were getting into his car after taking in the late showing of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” at the Whitby cineplex theatre. The heater didn’t seem to be doing anything to warm our bones but thankfully, the stereo was working and as he pulled out of his parking spot, Lush’s “For love” came bursting forth.

I would later learn that this was the second single to be released off “Spooky”, the London-based quartet’s first proper LP of new material. For this one, the band had enlisted Cocteau Twin’s Robin Guthrie to produce, much as he had on two of their previous EPs. Fans of his band might recognize his influence on the work here, lots of light bounces and sun reflections and haze rather than the noisy guitars of Lush’s shoegazing contemporaries. There was plenty of time for that later.

“For love” is still one of my favourite Lush tracks and not just because it was my first. Just listen to that bass line bopping back and forth like a slinky and those ringing and jangling guitars, sounding like chimes and bells dancing in the wind. And yeah, the dual harmonizing female vocals by Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson, all breathy and breathless, voices sounding almost like they are singing through flutes. It could be the memory creeping in every time I listen to it but I always get the tingling feeling of a light frost and the twinkling and tinkling of icicles shaking off of fir trees. Beautiful.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1992 list, click here.

Live music galleries: Slowdive [2017]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

Slowdive live at L’Olympia in Montreal, 2017

Artist: Slowdive
When: May 6th, 2017
Where: L’Olympia, Montreal
Context: Many of you will know by now that I had a thing for early ’90s shoegaze but to be honest, Slowdive wasn’t one of those bands that grabbed me back in the day. It took the discovery of Neil Halstead’s and Rachel Goswell’s second band, Mojave 3, to make me want to take a second look. I love Slowdive now, of course, so I was right there with the rest of them when they announced reunion shows in 2014, subsequent tours over the next few years, and then, a brand new album back in 2017. That self-titled record was so incredible (it was my second favourite album that year), I decided to drag Victoria with me to Montreal, right around this time three years ago, for Slowdive’s stop there. Of course, ever since that time we went to saw James there in 2008 and struggled to stay awake on the drive home afterward, we’ve made weekends out of these concert voyages and took time on each trip to explore the city. Even through all the amazing meals, the trip to the museum, and old Montreal, the highlight for me that weekend was still the concert, just oh so beautiful, “alien and angelic”, and I think even Victoria really enjoyed it.
Point of reference song: Star roving

Rachel Goswell of Slowdive
The Slowdive experience
Nick Chaplin and Neil Halstead of Slowdive
Christian Savill of Slowdive
Neil Halstead of Slowdive

Live music galleries: Swervedriver [2015]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

Swervedriver live at Zaphods in 2015

Artist: Swervedriver
When: May 5th, 2015
Where: Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa
Context: Just over five years ago, much like now, I was starting to feel that it was time to see some live music because I hadn’t seen any shows since the folk festival in the previous fall. (Except at that time, I had options. Concert tours weren’t all shut down due to an international pandemic like they are right now.) So when I saw that the recently reunited and highly influential shoegaze band Swervedriver was hitting Zaphod Beeblebrox here in Ottawa on their tour, I decided to check it out. They were one of the few of the genre that I didn’t get into back in the day so it didn’t bother me that the reunited roster only included two original members, fleshed out by touring musicians Mikey Jones and Mick Quinn (bassist from Supergrass!). The album they had just released, “I wasn’t born to lose you”, was getting a lot of play on my iPod leading up to the show and the set included the best of that album, plus lots of their earlier hits. It was loud and I loved it. And incidentally, it was the last show I ever saw at the iconic Zaphod Beeblebrox before it shut down.
Point of reference song: Autodidact

Adam Franklin of Swervedriver
Jimmy Hartridge of Swervedriver
Mick Quinn of Swervedriver
Mikey Jones of Swervedriver
Jimmy Hartridge rocking the guitar
Adam Franklin making some sound adjustments
The effects pedal setup