The critical lashing that Bush initially suffered seemed directly proportionate to the number of discs the band’s debut sold. And it sold a lot. Blame the abuse on three things: Gavin Rossdale’s pretty-boy good looks, the band’s obvious indebtedness to Nirvana, and poor timing. Originating from England and succeeding with a bubble-grunge sound in the year Cobain died made the quartet look not only like carpetbaggers, but necrophiliacs.
In time, though, credibility issues faded, leaving the music to speak for itself. As “Machinehead” proves, Rossdale had a way with chunky riffs. Save for a few electric touches, their style hasn’t changed much on subsequent albums, but when you have a good thing going, there’s no reason to change it. Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, for one, was apparently taking notes: In a strange twist, his Vancouver-based band is now enjoying wild commercial success with a very Bush-like sound. Bush, meanwhile isn’t.