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Album Review

Scared that his celebrity couldn't sell Institute, his post-Bush post-grunge back-to-basics band, Gavin Rossdale retreated to his own name for his 2008 solo debut, WANDERlust, its very important capitalization unwittingly bringing to mind the spelling of DAUGHTRY, the band — or perhaps it wasn't so unwitting, as on his own Rossdale pursues soft grunge designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience. It's the first time that Rossdale has so blatantly run for the traditional definition of the middle of the road (never mind that his Langer/Winstanley productions were the textbook definitions of crossover grunge), and he's happily embracing his role as Gwen Stefani's husband, writing songs about his contentedness as a family man. Rossdale does dredge up a bit of the old angst on occasion but this is a remarkably settled music — a run at the middle by a musician who has spent his career as a star attempting to prove how hard he is, working with underground guru Steve Albini on Bush's second record and turning to Helmet guitarist Page Hamilton for Institute. All that Sturm und Drang and clatter and clang are forgotten here, as Rossdale restyles himself as a post-grunge Peter Cetera, crooning slick, smooth ballads, only dipping into his angry side toward the close of the album as he rants against L.A. and government in equal measure, in duet with Shirley Manson. It is no small irony that Gavin Rossdale sounds better in this setting than he does in his harder rock — he's a better vocalist and more charismatic than most of the dullards who followed in his wake — but this is still more concerned about appearances than hooks or drama. [This edition includes bonus tracks.]


Born: 30 October 1965 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although grunge was primarily an American phenomenon, London native Gavin Rossdale left his mark on the genre by leading Bush to the forefront of modern rock radio in the mid-'90s. Bush enjoyed considerable popularity in the U.S., where the band's gravelly melodies and rhythmic crunch drove its debut album, Sixteen Stone, to multi-platinum status. Although Rossdale would never match that commercial peak again, he continued to create music throughout the subsequent decade, staying with Bush until...
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