Emma Anderson (Formerly of Lush) Shares Video for New Solo Song “Clusters” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Emma Anderson (Formerly of Lush) Shares Video for New Solo Song “Clusters”

Pearlies Due Out October 20 via Sonic Cathedral

Sep 20, 2023 Photography by Jeff Pitcher
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Emma Anderson, the co-founder of shoegaze icons Lush, is releasing her debut solo album, Pearlies, on October 20 via Sonic Cathedral. Now she has shared the album’s second single, “Clusters,” via a music video. Kieran Evans directed the video. Watch it below.

James Chapman (aka Mute Records artist Maps) produced Pearlies.

Anderson had this to say about “Clusters” in a press release: “It was the first track I worked on with James and it’s the one we found our feet with. I guess it’s the pop one on the album but, although it’s upbeat, I think lyrically it’s actually quite dark.”

Of the song’s lyrics, she adds: “It’s about some young people at a party at the end of summer, seeing some signs on a wall…. Discovering a kind of underlying threat during something that should have been quite fun.”

Some of the songs for Pearlies were actually written for a Lush reunion album that wasn’t meant to be. Lush reformed in 2015 for some touring and released a new EP, Blind Spot, in 2016. But the reunion came to a somewhat abrupt end that year, with plans for a new album or any more touring scrapped.

“I thought we were in it for the long term, so some of these songs—or even just parts of them—were actually going to be for Lush,” explains Anderson. “That didn’t happen, so I had these songs and bits of music that I didn’t know what to do with.”

At first Anderson worked on home demos with cellist and string arranger Audrey Riley. Then Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins (who produced Lush’s 1992 album, Spooky) helped with some further recording, but insisted Anderson sing her own songs. Initially she had planned on getting another singer involved, which she had done with her post-Lush band Sing Sing.

“He basically said, ‘If you don’t sing, I am not going to do it,’ so I decided I would,” says Anderson. “I am not someone that feels comfortable in the spotlight, so for me to take center stage, metaphorically speaking, was quite a big leap.”

Then Sonic Cathedral suggested James Chapman produce the final album.

“He turned out to be exactly the right person,” says Anderson. “People tend to view James as primarily an electronic producer but he has a lot more strings to his bow. He has a wide range of tastes and also an encyclopedic knowledge of music, which meant he was able to bring a huge amount to the album. He really got it.”

One of the final pieces of the puzzle was some additional guitar contributions from Suede’s Richard Oakes.

“I didn’t know Richard back in the ’90s, but it turned that he was a bit of a Lush fan,” says Anderson. “I have a part-time day job as a bookkeeper, and I do bits of work for the Suede camp. I got to know him through that and we became friends. I asked if he would play some guitar on the record and, to my delight, he said yes!”

Previously Anderson shared the album’s first single, “Bend the Round,” via a music video. “Bend the Round” made a special Songs of the Week playlist.

Check out our interview with Lush on their 1994 album Split.

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