Dream Pop Landscape Is Very Lush


It’s called dream pop , a shimmering, blurry brand of British rock descended from the ethereal raptures of the Cocteau Twins and now being carried forward by a new brigade of bands, including My Bloody Valentine, Ride and A. R. Kane.

But the field’s unlikely front-runner at the moment is Lush, a band started by a pair of 14-year-old schoolgirls who couldn’t even play an instrument at the time.

“The main thing that we used to do socially was see bands,” says lead vocalist Miki Berenyi, 26. “Then all the people we used to go see bands with started their own bands. So it was the obvious step.

“It’s not like me and Emma (Anderson) got guitars at the age of 14 and then practiced forever and got really good. We just decided to be in a band, then got the instruments, and then started to play them. There wasn’t much preparation that went into the band itself. Then we met Chris (Acland)--'Oh! We’ve got a drummer!’ ”


Lush formed in 1980 and eventually developed a kind of winsome, spiritual funk, a densely textured ambient flow of rhythm and melody riding a hard-rocking drummer. After playing on the London club scene for a while, the group signed with the 4AD label and released a string of EP’s and singles that established the band on the English alternative charts.

The band was signed in the United States by Reprise Records, which compiled its recordings into last year’s “Gala” album. The new “Spooky,” its first full album of new material, was produced by Cocteau Twins leader Robin Guthrie, and it’s making its mark in U.S. alternative rock circles.

While Berenyi says that the band members were always unimpressed with rock’s standard guitar heroics and showboating drummers, the Lush sound that did emerge was more a matter of necessity than choice.

“We can play what we play but we can’t play anything else,” Berenyi says. “So it’s not like I can get up with Emma and play a couple of Rolling Stones songs, y’know what I mean? Being self-taught, we don’t know how to play anything apart from the songs we’ve written.”

The magic, then, must lie in brilliant songwriting. Not so, insists Berenyi: “I have to sit there and work to write a song. Neither of us can write when we’re on the road. We can’t pick up our guitars, strum a chord and go ‘Hey!’ So we have to just sit there at home with the four-track, thinking.”