Someone as important to her particular pop moment as Lush singer-guitarist Emma Anderson shouldn't have to dwell in the "where are they now" file as long as she has. But since the shoegazer stalwarts' dissolution in 1998, Anderson has been working in fits and starts, mostly trying to get her new band Sing-Sing off the ground. With glitch-pop singer Lisa O'Neill by her side, Anderson has recorded (and re-recorded) Sing-Sing singles and EPs, and in 2001, she put out a Sing-Sing album that was scarcely noticed, even by Lush fans. Now, almost 10 years after convening Sing-Sing, Anderson and O'Neill seem to have finally figured out what the band is: a more eclectic, more forthright, more history-conscious version of Lush.
But even though the band's sophomore album, Sing-Sing And I, contains a song, "Going Out Tonight," that could've been plucked from one of Lush's early dream-pop classics, the new record does more than just recycle Anderson's standard mix of echoing drums, ringing guitars, and breathy vocals. "When I Was Made," with its ringing bells and stately shuffle, sounds like futurist girl-group music, while "A Kind Of Love"—all nightscape and neon—sounds like abstracted folk-rock, and the upbeat character sketches "Mister Kadali" and "A Modern Girl" have the buzz and flash of UK pop-radio circa 1989. Even though the airy, ebullient "Come, Sing Me A Song" adds some classic Lush distortion over the chorus, it maintains a connection to the tangled tradition of women with guitars from the early '60s to now. And even though Sing-Sing's elements of homage lead to some songs more underdeveloped than charmingly minimal, the duo never sounds less than bright and engaged. It's a heartwarming return.