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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Review: Cush + The Intelligent Designers - Happy Accidents

Cush + The Intelligent Designers
2008, OtherWorld Distractions

It’s time to introduce you to Cush. You’ve met Cush before even if you don’t remember or recognize him. And no, he’s not the first round draft pick Bob Sugar stole from Jerry Maguire. Cush carries with him a significant musical history. From his early days as founder of cult favorite The Wigs to his stint as a member of Interscope’s Fisher, Vush has shared the stage with artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O’Connor, Bon Jovi and David Grey. Cush also contributed backing vocals to Ringo Starr’s Vertical Man album alongside the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Joe Walsh and Daniel Lanois (to name a few). Younger fans may know Cush’s voice as the one behind the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” theme songs, but he’s contributed material to soundtracks such as Dawson’s Creek, Melrose Place, 7th Heaven, Great Expectations and Cradle 2 The Grave. Cush’s latest project, with The Intelligent Designers, Happy Accidents, features fine Brit-Pop inspired Rock N Roll that will have fans of all generations buzzing.

Happy Accidents opens with the funk-laden Little Black Dress. Little Black Dress is the song that might have occurred if Lennon/McCartney had ever sat down with Jagger/Richards to pen a song together. Won’t Let It Rain has a definite Beatles vibe in a sonically gorgeous arrangement that makes the best use of harmonies and a soaring chorus. Sorry I Ruined Your Life brings some punk energy into the mix. This is the catchiest tune on the album and its absolutely unforgettable. You’ll be humming this one for days.

Sweet Doomed Angel starts out on a dark but hooky note and turns into a wonderful pop confection with Beach Boys style harmonies and a big chorus. Beautiful Something is a sweet waltz looking at loves lost. Happy Accidents closes out with The Way You Need and the surprising Dreaming (Black) In White. Cush recasts DeBussey’s Claire De Lune as a gothic pop ballad. I have to admit that Claire De Lune is probably my favorite classical composition, and hearing it in this fashion was a bit disturbing on first listen, but Cush + The Intelligent Designers make excellent use of the classic in a way that enhances it without detracting from the original.

Cush’s voice is familiar right from the outset of Happy Accidents. There are shades of Beatles past and present in there, but who he sounds most like is Styx’ Lawrence Gowan. This becomes most evident on Dreaming (Black) In White, but once you’ve identified the connection you’ll recognize it in every song here. Happy Accidents is an inspired album full of solidly original compositions based in familiar musical landscapes. Cush + The Intelligent Designers have enough pop gold running through their musical veins to really make something of this, and enough rough edges to make them interesting to listen to. Happy Accidents is a keeper.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Cush + The Intelligent Designers at Copies of Happy Accidents are available from

Be sure to check out Cush’s podcast, Cush: Things I Say at

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