About a decade ago, Brit singer Gavin Rossdale
was a major rock star. Well, not under his own name - he was frontman
of late Clinton-era grunge rockers Bush. Unfortunately his Bush went
downhill at about the same time another, less talented Bush gained power in
a different arena.
Now, with Dubya's star seriously on
the wane, surprisingly Rossdale is finally getting around to throwing
himself back into the music fray - releasing his first solo CD seven years
after his old band split following the muted reaction to their final CD
Golden State in 2001.
He hasn't been completely out of the
loop in that time. He did lead another band called Institute which
released an album called Distort Yourself in 2005. That album
sounded a whole hell of a lot like his old group (though a little more
rootsy) and most people didn't even notice its release. Therefore, in
the aughties, Rossdale is better known as Mr. Gwen Stefani than he has been
as a musician.
After its long gestation time,
Rossdale has learned from the errors of Institute and released his solo
debut, Wanderlust. This CD sounds almost nothing like his old
band, it is a stripped down pop-rock disk which is actually his best release
since Razorblade Suitcase in 1996. However, it is also a
blatant sellout, courting a wide audience in a way in which Rossdale would
have derided in the old days.
The new, improved Rossdale is shown
with his pretty hit ballad "Love Remains the Same." It is a sweet,
beautiful whisper of love and contentment - and about as far from old Bush
songs like "Machinehead" and "Glycerine" as possible.
Of course, it is Rossdale's right to
reinvent himself and Wanderlust is reminiscent of some of the less
eccentric corners of Peter Gabriel and Sting's catalogue. Particularly
the vague world beat of "Frontline" and "Future World" feel immediately
familiar but are undeniably catchy.
That said, he doesn't really rock
anymore so much. For an album called Wanderlust, this is a
pretty middle of the road affair. Only in the duet "The Trouble I'm
In," with Garbage leader Shirley Manson, does Rossdale legitimately rock