90s era shoegazer band Lush reissued their three full albums in 2023. And in today’s video, I’m going to unbox my copy of their second studio album, Split, which was originally released in 1994. My copy is on clear wax, and the reissue comes just shy of the album’s 30th anniversary.
As always, you can dig into my unboxing on the FensePost Vinyl Channel on YouTube, embedded below:
A Look Back at Lush
First, let’s take a quick look back at Lush.
The band formed in 1987, signing to 4AD two years later, in 1989. Though Discogs classifies their 1989 4AD release Scar as an album, Wikipedia calls it a mini album. It’s more an EP with just six songs, and it’s the lone one that 4AD has not reissued this year — so far.
They released Spooky in 1991, Split in 1994, and Lovelife in 1996.
Ultimately, the band officially split in the fall of 1996 after drummer Chris Acland committed suicide that October.
Told you it would be quick.
The Music on Split
Bands like My Bloody Valentine blended dreaminess with a Jesus And Mary Chain level of noise, and both Ride and Pale Saints injected a fair amount of indie pop and rock sensibilities into their music. Lush found home alongside the often mellower, dreamier sounds found with early Slowdive.
On Split, this is especially apparent in the track “Desire Lines.” The strum of the guitars almost has a jangle to it during the instrumental breakdown in the middle of the song before diving deep into a louder swirling of guitars. The dual vocals of frontwoman Miki Berenyi and the harmonious backing of Emma Anderson create this surreal aura that is truly timeless.
That’s something I absolutely love about these early shoegaze bands. So many of them are inherently classic, yet they eschew the pigeonhole of time. Rooted in the era itself, but still entirely modern 30 years on.
Split Vinyl Variants
As is pretty standard these days, 4AD gave it two variants: your standard black vinyl pressing, and one on clear vinyl.
I don’t know how many copies were pressed as there’s no call outs to that number on the 4AD website or on Discogs, though the latter points to the fact that it is limited edition, and you also find a call out to the limited nature of the pressing thanks to the hype sticker on the album’s shrink wrap.
Split had a few different cover variations, and this is the standard vinyl one 4AD used on the original 1994 vinyl pressings. All four vinyl variants have this artwork — the two originals from 1994 (a UK and a US pressing), and the two from 2023. I’m not counting the 1994 test pressing listed on Discogs.
CDs had Split written at a 90 degree angle in the printed text along the right, which was given more space. Similarly, cassettes had slightly modified artwork as well, which is no surprise given the vertical rectangle of the J-card case as opposed to the square face found on vinyl sleeves and CD jackets.
Split Clear Vinyl Unboxing
Let’s take a deeper look at my copy of the 2023 reissue of Split.
I love the back. This style of design is quite signature to 4AD in the late 80s through mid 90s. You see it on releases by fellow shoegazers Pale Saints and the album The Comforts of Madness and even on classics like Pixies’ Doolittle.
The album does have a printed inner sleeve, and it pulls in some references to album art with the printing along the side and the graphical treatment to Lush’s logo for the album.
I’ll point out that on each of their albums they do script the band name in a unique way. While it changes across their three studio albums, on each of those releases that treatment is consistent across the various areas it shows up — the outer sleeve, the inner sleeves or inserts, and on the record labels themselves.
Speaking of which, let’s take a peek at the clear wax.
Split on Clear Vinyl
It’s pretty standard: clear wax is clear wax, not much to it, but I have always had an affinity for clear. I think it works well on this pressing, especially given how vividly colorful the album artwork and inner sleeves are. I love the labels, I love the colors that are used and how they are drawn from the rest of the artwork.
The BEST albums treat packaging as pieces of art, and you absolutely get that here on Split. The use of color, the placement of fonts and graphics — I imagine the original creation of the cover to have been a mixed media piece, and I love it!
There you go! My copy of Split by Lush, the 2023 clear vinyl pressing from 4AD. Like I said, both Spooky and Lovelife were also reissued this year by 4AD.
My question to you is this: which of the three is your favorite? For me, Lovelife doesn’t do much for me, so it’s a tossup between Spooky and Split. Let me know yours down in the comments below.