Lush’s debut mini record, Scar, released on October 9th, 1989, is a rather underrated piece. Lush aren’t as well recognized for their shoegazing as My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive are, however they should. Despite that later Lush would go on to lean more onto britpop rather than alternative or shoegaze, this album shows how sticking to the simple staples of riffs, drumming, and melodies in general can get you somewhere. It is a simple album, and a short one with only six tracks, but it’s an easy one to listen to
Despite the morbid lyrics that you can hear in ‘Baby Talk’, the way the song is kept at a steady tempo with an edgy guitar strumming makes it all so attractive. ‘Thoughtforms’ feels like a dream with the way the tempo of the strumming is painted in the song along with the beautifully harmonized vocals and neat bass line. Those riffs in ‘Thoughtforms’ give texture to the vocals and the song, making it such an easy song to listen to with a certain depth. The song ‘Etheriel’ has a similar sweetness to it, however the combination of familiar elements being infused makes the song remarkable. It really seems to stay with you, a similar impact that you would feel with ‘Thoughtforms’. It’s easy to listen to, but at the same time it goes under your skin, and a lot of that comes from the way all the elements in the song are used to create an atmosphere for the listener. ‘Bitter’ has these easy-listening vibes going on as the melody is rather simple, however the vocals have edge, and this gives the song more significance.
Lush were great at making all of this happen, if it wasn’t the instrumentals then it was the vocals. ‘Scarlet’ has a lightness to it in its melody and vocals, much lighter than ‘Bitter’, making this song rather airy. However, we certainly don’t lose the alternative and shoegazing consistency of the album in this song. The edgiest and roughest song to listen to on the album is probably ‘Second Sight’, it sounds so hazy both vocally and instrumentally, but the thing with Lush and the stuff that they make is that they always maintain some kind of melody in the song no matter how light or rough the texture of it is. This is probably why you can see them in certain albums, such as in Scar as shoegaze and alternative legends, and in other albums such as Lovelife more as britpop gems. However, the band certainly know pop without any bullshit, in other words, they seem to know what’s good quite a bit.
The album appears to be a creative and unique work of art, and Steve Rippon has claimed that the elements incorporated into the album are familiar, however they are combined differently. This is very important to consider, as the album by itself really isn’t that pioneering, however it being a part of that creative shoegaze atmosphere in England during the late 80s-early-90s gives the whole thing more momentum. This seems to be a fairly underrated album, even if it is their debut album, Scar surely leaves a mark in the world of alternative and shoegaze. It is one of those albums that seems to have the right sound to make you fall in love.