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Echo And The Bunnymen

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  • Heaven Up Here,
  • Porcupine,
  • Ocean Rain,
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  • What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?,
  • Flowers,
  • Siberia,
  • The Fountain,

  • Album Reviews |

    Echo And The Bunnymen

    Crocodiles 8 ( 1980, UK pos 17 )
    Going Up / Stars Are Stars / Pride / Monkeys / Crocodiles / Rescue / Villiers Terrace / Pictures On My Wall / All That Jazz / Happy Death Men

    Formed September 1978 as a three piece plus drum machine named 'Echo'. Upon signing a deal in the UK and a deal with Sire in the US, they hired a proper drummer and were on their way. Liverpool was slow in responding to the Punk scenes of Manchester and London, but with the likes of Echo And The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and Wah! - Liverpool at last had a scene to call its own. Fronted by big mouth Ian McCulloch, Echo And The Bunnymen had an advantage right from the start. The sheer confidence of Ian McCulloch right from the start was no doubt inspiring to his fellow bunnymen. Confidence is important in any group. If you've got a singer who thinks he's a fantastic lyricist and song-writer, that's surely gonna help everybody, isn't it? It helped that he actually was, of course. 'Crocodiles' was their debut LP offering. It sounds distinctive. It contains 'remnants' of more standard punk influences here and there, but elsewhere? The opening 'Going Up' is all wailing vocals and post Joy Division atmospherics. Hardly a stunning opener, but 'Stars Are Stars' soon makes up for it. Few of the songs contained here are 'immediate', by the way. The guitar sound is either brittle, clean, or both. The rhythm section cuts well, funky in places. Ian McCulloch had the kind of voice Bono had, a swooning voice, a seemingly big and important voice. Even as early as this however, Echo And The Bunnymen seem to have a certain assurance about themselves throughout most of this 'Crocodiles' recording. The first half of the album is wrapped up by the title song and it joins the opening song in being one of the less distinguished pieces here. The punk influences are very clear upon listening to the title song.

    As the second half of the album progresses, it becomes clearer and clearer what songs such as 'Stars And Stars' were hinting at. 'Rescue' is a pop song with a great pop hook, 'Villiers Terrace' a song Factory boss Tony Wilson said was the greatest he'd ever heard. It's a song based around a story Ian McCulloch heard about Hitler biting carpets. Something like that. 'Pictures On My Wall' had been released as the debut Echo And The Bunnymen single. It has an elegance about both the guitar sound and the vocal. A certain sophistication. Elsewhere, 'All That Jazz' showcases what a powerful rhythm section the group were developing and how well guitarist Will Seargent could ride above that rhythm section. Hugely promising and accomplished debut LP, then? Well, yeah. Not all the material is great, the closing 'Happy Death Men' joins a couple of other songs here in basically being filler. Were it not for the sound of the group and the seemingly unbeatable confidence, these songs and the album wouldn't work as well as they, and it, does.

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    Akis Katsman watta502@yahoo.gr
    This is a good debut album, even if it somewhat borrows from Joy Division. Not the best Bunnymen album (that would be Ocean Rain) but some songs kick ass here. The title track, "Rescue" and "Villiers Terrace" are all great. That album would get a higher grade if it was more consistent (not too fond of the opener "Going Up" or "All That Jazz"). But I'd still give it a high 8 for having some classic songs.

    Pete Shields axepete@aol.com
    How can anybody give " Crocodiles " 8 out of 10, It is the greatest debut album by a british band..EVER The Bunnymen did some amazing stuff and are the most underated band of all time - u2 are just a cheap Irish copy ! Crocodiles will never be surpassed. It screams raw energy and the only way to have heard The Liverpool geniouses play better was at a live gig. Pete Defreitas Rest in Peace - you did your bit for rock n' roll history

    stewart vaggers docv@btinternet.com
    listen again adrian...going up is one of most sensational opening tracks on a debut rock album you are ever likely to hear...a paranoid, acid laced lament wrapped up in a taut, superbly structured melody...from the opening atmospherics to the ironic fade this is as close to genious as echo ever got...and they were there frequently with many other compositions

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    Heaven Up Here ( 1981, , UK pos 10 )
    Show Of Strength / With A Hip / Over The Wall / It Was A Pleasure / A Promise / Heaven Up Here / The Disease / All My Colours / No Dark Things / Turquoise Days / All I Want

    Nobody yet knew about the then forthcoming 80s stadium rock era. Your U2 or Simple Minds - how hugely succesful those bands would become. The thing is, yeah, the music press and the bands themselves were all aware of each other. The other thing is, circa 1981, most likely to were Echo And The Bunnymen. 'Heaven Up Here' cracked the top 10 of the album charts, something U2 and Simple Minds had yet to achieve. Echo And The Bunnymen were arguably the greatest live band in the country at this point, as well. All of which is transferred to 'Heaven Up Here'. The recordings retain a live feel and the rhythm section, the drum work in particular, sounds magnificent throughout. Power and drama throughout. Ian McCulloch thought they were adding much needed soul into the UK music scene with 'Heaven Up Here'. I'd say more funk, than soul. A lot of the songs here revolve around the groove the rhythm section create. The vocals and guitar add the drama, the bedrock is the bass guitar and the drums. Some of the songs you think they could continue forever, the sound is so glorious you want them to just carry on the variations. Ian modelled his rhythm guitar technique upon Lou Reed, circa The Velvet Underground. That influence comes out best during this 'Heaven Up Here' set. 'Show Of Strength' and 'With A Hip', both strong songs, both groovy and most importantly, DRAMATIC! But, when we reach 'Over The Wall'? This is tour-de-force, this is stunning, amazing music. I hesitate to say Echo And The Bunnymen were writing consistently great material for either 'Crocodiles' or 'Heaven Up Here', but with the likes of 'Over The Wall', it hardly matters. We've got drama in both the vocals and guitars, we've got synth sounds. Pounding drums and a groove that lasts six minutes, and it's not nearly enough. Ten minutes would have been dandy! Yeah, what a sound, what a fantastic thing 'Over The Wall' is.

    'It Was A Pleasure' is a funky Talking Heads kind of thing, 'A Promise' just a glorious single and further proof that Echo And The Bunnymen had something distinctive. 'Crocodiles' contained hints of that Echo And The Bunnymen elegance and wide-screen romance and magic. 'Heaven Up Here' largely doesn't, relying more on kick-ass funk and unbeatable alternative stadium rock. It rocks, but 'A Promise' is a rare and welcome moment of elegance for 'Heaven Up Here'. The structure of the song is just weird, I can't explain. Ah, well. Just listen. So, there is variety here. 'Heaven Up Here' has its quota of world-beating stadium sized 'rock' songs, but 'A Promise' and the very weird 'The Disease' add needed variety and keep the album on an even keel. In actual fact, the second half of this album develops things, altogether. 'All My Colours' is seemingly dark and reflective. 'All I Want' hints at a future Echo And The Bunnymen, songs full of imagery and widescreen romance. For now, 'All I Want' also combines that with the then current sound of funky Bunnymen rhythm and drama. It'll do.

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    wannabeewilde neilandthebunnymen@msn.com
    "this is the one called heaven and this is the one for me". perhaps not the greatest ever, but my favourite LP of all-time.

    porcupine cupidandpsyche85@hotmail.com
    'With a Hip' is one of the catchiest, funkiest, most insanely brilliant things I've ever heard in my life! Heaven up Here is possibly the best Bunnymen album of them all, the music on here is just remarkable, especially 'Show of Strength' with its awesome guitars and the transcendence of 'No Dark Things'. This album just oozes magic, exhilaration, excitement, cathartic power and best of all, it rocks like no other album, not even like any other Bunnymen album. The cover is a work of art in itself! This is probably the least immediately accessible of the band's first four albums, but it's definitely the one with the most rewarding results! Play it LOUD.

    dark zimbo thing john.johnston01@virgin.net
    this is my favourite album of all time. i bought it when it first came out and had never heard any bunnymen before, just liked the picture on the sleeve. Hated it at first, but the opening riff on `show of strength` kept coming back at me and once i`d played it enough i started to understand it and hear it differently. `promise` can bring spine-tingling tears and `no dark things` sends me into elated contortions of glee.

    Ricardo nunez101@hotmail.com
    To me this is the best EATBM album. ALL the songs are good, but what I really like about it is the fact that THIS ALBUM ROCKS!!! The rythm section just blew me the hell away and the guitar playing just drives you through the album with aggression but with elegance; and, that's exactly what this album is all about: energy, elegance and an excelent set of songs.

    Andrew Mitchell nunez101@hotmail.com
    So far everyone has missed-out commenting on the stand-out track on the album -"Turquoise Days". I donít have words to articulate how great this song is; you just have to hear it. Dim the lights, get rid of outside distractions, and turn it up. Heaven up Here is the E&TB Album people say is too depressing. They haven't given it a chance or don't recognize sublime music. E&TB are yet another example of the unjust nature of success in the Artistic World, when lesser bands like U2 and Simple Minds made it so big. Or is success measured by people recognizing an others greatness ? As I finish this, notice (and it isnít evident in H.u.H) the wonderful sense of humour Ian McCulloch has. What more can you ask for Ė they had it all.

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    Porcupine ( 1983, UK pos 2 )
    The Cutter / The Back Of Love / My White Devil / Clay / Porcupine / Heads Will Roll / Ripeness / Higher Hell / Gods Will Be Gods / In Bluer Skies

    Beyond the stellar two singles that open this album, things are strangely claustrophobic and downbeat. Still, what singles they are. 'The Back Of Love' was the groups first top twenty hit, 'The Cutter' reached number eight. They were flying. That 'Porcupine' as a whole fails to match 'Heaven Up Here' hardly seems to matter too much, because the momentum was kept going, at least. Anyway, lets speak of those two singles. 'The Cutter' opens with a strange eastern sounding thing. The song brims with energy throughout, the same energy that had characterized much of the groups work. Remembering the pop nous of the likes of 'Rescue' is important in the construction of 'The Cutter'. That eastern sound, that eastern sounding riff comes floating back in. A song that does have a chorus, but it's not much of one. The chorus isn't the point of 'The Cutter', the point of it is the middle section of the song which is one of the greatest things known to man. Suddenly, Echo And The Bunnymen not only reach a new level, but match that charging, surging magic that, for example, the classic early Byrds singles had. So magical, you doubt the band even knew what they were doing. That's the best kind of way. Oh, 'The Back Of Love' contains pop hooks and all the drama we'd learned to love from the group. Classy, powerful and something to chant and shout along with. It mentions the word 'Love' quite conspiciously in the lyric, but it's no sell-out. People cared about such things back then. Oh, right. Both 'The Back Of Love' and 'The Cutter' features string instruments, eg, violins. They add even more dramatic atmosphere and also point the way towards a certain future direction the group would take.

    So, what about the rest of the album? Well, what about it, indeed. Placing the two singles right at the start of the record was a mistake. Plus, nothing else here comes anywhere close to the quality of the two singles. Ho-hum. 'My White Devil' does have a certain shared guitar sound that parts of 'The Cutter' and 'The Back Of Love' employ. 'Clay' is an enjoyable 'Heaven Up Here' kind of thing, albeit not recorded as well. The title song is six minutes of goth drone. Still, 'Heads Will Roll' could have been a third single. It's the closest 'Porcupine' comes to anything to match the glory of 'The Cutter' in particular. It's clearly in the same ball-park, at least. What follows this is sub 'Heaven Up Here', the likes of 'Gods Will Be Gods' sounding like confused matches of both past and then present Echo And The Bunnymen. 'Porcupine' lacks the direction of either of the first two Echo And The Bunnymen albums. Having said all of that, it's still pretty good.

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    David Martin david.martin79@btopenworld.com
    Ahhh, nostalgia...Porcupine is a great album (the first EATB album I bought way back in `83). Deserves 8/10 I think. Its awash with melancholy, great melodies and some of the best vocals on any EATB album. I think this is definitley better than Ocean Rain on the whole (although that is an excellent album). Gods will be Gods is probably the finest track here. Rejoice in one of the very best albums of the 80`s by the greatest band of the 80`s. Enjoy!

    Chief Cheerful CherubinTerrorist@hotmail.co.uk
    This is in my opinion, the Bunnymens finest hour, Mac's vocals are phenomenal, the operatics on "Clay" and the chorus on "heads will roll" career highs.

    Ricardo nunez101@hotmail.com
    I love this album, as a matter of fact it's my second favorite EATBM album (second to Heaven Up Here of course). But to tell you the truth, the two singles (The Cutter and The Back Of Love) to me are the worst songs on this record, I even usually skip them and go through the whole remaining album without ever skiping again. Well I guess it's all about taste; but, and I think we both can agree on this, Porcupine is a pretty enjoyable piece of work (although I obviously seem to enjoy it a bit more than you do).

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    Ocean Rain 9 ( 1984, UK pos 4 )
    Silver / Nocturnal Me / Crystal Days / The Yo-Yo Man / Thorn Of Crowns / The Killing Moon / Seven Seas / My Kingdom / Ocean Rain

    The pop skills of Echo And The Bunnymen are all over the place now. Plus, other things. Plus, an old style stormer - matched to their new apparent classical sophistication. It all works out just fine. A new depth to the lyrics in places, the same glory the characterized the middle section of 'The Cutter' present throughout parts of 'Silver', which should have been a much bigger hit that it was. 'Ocean Rain' is probably the most cohesive yet also the most varied album Echo And The Bunnymen released. No two songs here seem to be much the same, but the orchestrations lend everything a similar shared sound, albeit varied with different guitar sounds, etc. Different kinds of songs! 'Nocturnal Me' has great orchestration that adds the kind of drama that was created through bass and drums circa 'Heaven Up Here'. Ian McCulloch gets into a kind of thing with the vocals and lyrics that reminds of The Doors. Another influence coming out. That's one of the things I like about Echo And The Bunnymen. They never revealed everything at once, there were always different layers, different things to discover about them. We continue, 'Crystal Days' being implausibly, an even better pop song that 'Silver' or 'Seven Seas', the two main 'pop' singles here. 'Seven Seas' was entertaining, very 'fun' in a way that may have dismayed the very purest of Echo And The Bunnymen fan that still clung to the likes of 'Villiers Terrace', but most sensible people could see the progress the group had made. Back to 'Crystal Days' for a second. As well as the pop Echo And The Bunnymen, the rhythm section and guitar player also have their moments throughout the song. I like it lots.

    'The Yo Yo Man' joins 'Nocturnal Me' in being a different kind of song, but also a song very much of the same quality as everything else here. 'Nocturnal Me' seems to lyrically and musically take you on a journey, a soundtrack to an imaginary movie. It's also a song beautifully recorded with all sorts of exotic additional instrumentation to help things out, too. Ah, what was that old style stormer I mentioned? Well, it's not quite 'Over The Wall', but it does feature some demented guitar and drum work. It's the kind of song you can quite easily imagine going down an absolute storm when they played it live, but it also marries that old bunnymen power to the new bunnymen romance, magic and glory. 'Thorn Of Crowns' is the song in question, truly daft yet utterly entertaining lyrics. The stuttered 'C-ca-cu-cucumber' section, great indeed. Memories of 'My Generation' by The Who? This song does so much more, ha-ha! 'My Kingdom' is four minutes of melodies and intelligent lyrics much of the same quality as any of the pop hits contained here. If 'Porcupine' failed to be a consistent set of recordings, that's certainly not a problem for 'Ocean Rain'. 'My Kingdom', 'Crystal Days'. Both are glorious, intelligent guitar pop songs. Songs with a class and sophistication! The title song here is a beautiful ballad the showcased particularly well new qualities in the vocals of Ian McCulloch. A deep, resonant voice.

    One more thing? Oh, ok. In case you needed extra convincing that 'Ocean Rain' is a classic album, 'The Killing Moon' does that thing, the thing hinted at by earlier, ambitious and arty Echo And The Bunnymen singles such as 'A Promise'. 'The Killing Moon' has shifting tenses, you never quite know where you are. It's a song that places pictures in your mind and places you right in the middle of some kind of fantasy, some kind of journey. Beautifully played and sang, 'The Killing Moon', a very strange kind of pop song - reached number nine in the UK charts. 'The Killing Moon' and 'Ocean Rain' as a whole would prove a hard act for Echo And The Bunnymen to follow. They took time off. Sure, they'd been recording and touring and building up to what they'd acheived, but take time off at your peril!

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    Secered_Alliance 10068729@ndai.ac.uk
    I thought Macs comments 'The Best Album Of All Time' was maybe a wee bit off, but it would be dammed close to that in my book

    Akis Katsman watta502@yahoo.gr
    That is seriously one of the best albums I've heard in my life. All the songs here are so great and the mood rules. I don't care if the singer sometimes sounds too much like Jim Morrison because it's a very good imitation. "Nocturnal Me" is an awesome song, with a very melancholic chorus. So is "Silver" and "The Killing Moon". So are all! I recommend this record to any person who is openminded and knows about good music. Maybe the best album of the 80's (am I stretching a little here?) along with The Queen Is Dead, Disintegration etc. An easy 10/10 of course!

    Jan Korbee bakara@zonnet.nl
    One of the of the very few albums,which you can say all the songs on it are classics.

    gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    One of the most romantic records of the post punk era. "songs to fall in love to" as mcculloch said at the time . Songs to fall in love with is probably more accurate. Its one of the greatest records of the 80s , no doubt about it .

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    Echo And The Bunnymen ( 1987, UK pos 4 )
    The Game / Over You / Bedbugs And Ballyhoo / All In Your Mind / Bombers Bay / Lips Like Sugar / Lost And Found / New Direction / Blue Blue Ocean / Satellite / All My Life

    This album marks the moment Echo And The Bunnymen fell behind. Well, they'd been one step ahead of U2 critically, yet three years away for U2 led them to releasing 'Joshua Tree' and being the biggest band in the world. Echo And The Bunnymen didn't have that same wandering Irish spirit. They didn't like touring America, although they did. This album became their best selling American release, although it was hardly a big seller, all told. Anyway, sales don't matter. The most telling fact about this album is the fact that the best song, the vampy 'Bedbugs And Ballyhoo', in its original form, was an 'Ocean Rain' era b-side. That says something about the decline in song-writing this self-titled comeback album displays. Don't get me wrong, nothing here is terribly bad, yet equally, nothing here is stunningly exciting either. The Doors keyboard player contributed along the way to 'Bedbugs'. Echo And The Bunnymen would subsequently have their biggest american single covering 'People Are Strange'... by The Doors! It was crap, though. A crap cover. There's language for you. I could throw a metaphor at you right now, but then I'd sound like 'Q' magazine. I don't want to sound like 'Q' magazine. Have you read 'Q' lately? Well. Point made.

    Ah, I like 'All In Your Mind', that song has good sounding guitars and an energy. 'Lips Like Sugar' was a single release and yes, it is catchy. It works, the song sounds elegant, wide-screen. As all good Echo And The Bunnymen songs should. The remaining songs range from mediocre to good. In fact, there really isn't a single terribly bad song here, yet it does feels like the group have regressed. Albeit regression added to a shiny synthetic sound. It could all have been so different. If this album had the sound of 'Heaven Up Here', things would have been different! As it is, the only reason to seek this album out is if you really are a die-hard Echo And The Bunnymen fan. Well, that and the fact three or four songs or so are upto the levels of 'scratch' they'd previously set themselves.

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    erin erinsandford@myway.com
    I think six-and-a-half is a bit low, it's at least as good as porcupine! The game is a fantastic song, i agree with the same sound as Heaven Up Here it would be entirely different thing but as it is, for 1987, it deserves at least a seven...

    gazza garyhess44@hoymail.com
    I think adrians correct with his rating here. The band had changed management and i think along with their joint US tour with new order they were trying to be more sucessful there. The record itself isnt bad, half of the songs here are fine (but only the game,bedbugs,sugar are standouts) and its clearly produced for american college radio but compared to ocean rain and porcupine this was a step backward .The magic had gone a bit although they were still incredible live. Their was also a fair bit of turmoil in the groups relations at the time and the death of pete de freitas in a tragic accident in 1989 effectively ended the bunnymen for pretty much the next 10 years .

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    Evergreen 8 ( 1997, UK pos 8 )
    Don't Let It Get You Down / In My Time / I Want To Be There / Evergreen / I'll Fly Tonight / Nothing Lasts Forever / Baseball Bill / Altamont / Just A Touch Away / Empire State Halo / Too Young To Kneel / Forgiven

    Ian released a couple of averagely received solo albums. Will Seargent made an Echo And The Bunnymen album with a different singer that was universally derided. All the shadows in the field are coming to you. Hence, Echo and his Bunnymen reform and get right back to buisness in the shape of mighty comeback single, 'Nothing Lasts Forever'. It was truly as if time had never passed from 'Ocean Rain'. A song full of the requisite mystery and Bunnymen wide-screen romance. And as such, a sequence of songs are contained on this album that remind you of Echo And The Bunnymen of old, circa 1985. 'Evergreen' would indeed have made a far better follow up to 'Ocean Rain' than the groups self-titled 1987 effort did, although 'Evergreen' never quite reaches the heights of the finest Bunnymen material, 'Nothing Lasts Forever' aside. Anyhoo, 'I'll Fly Tonight' has some neat Will Seargent guitar moments framed within a song that also contains strings and other such delights. The ending to the song is pure Bunnymen and for a moment, you really do feel as if the group have never missed a beat during all the years they were away. The opening track, 'Don't Let It Get You Down' and third track, the noisy 'I Want To Be There' are the bread for the far tastier filling that is 'In My Time'. 'In My Time' is a Bunnymen tune. Sounds like a stupid thing to say, but Bunnymen fans will know what I mean. When Will and Ian were in Electrafixion, they steered conciously away from their sound of old. Which was all very laudable, but it didn't quite fulfil the nostalgic amongst us. 'Evergreen' is a fine comeback album precisely because it doesn't do anything new and precisely because it merely does just carry on regardless. Carry on up the Bunnymen?

    The title track is anthemic, the second half of the album not as good as the first, but interesting material remains. 'Empire State Halo' reminds me of much earlier Bunnymen, and the sound of this mystery, although without the energy of a 'Heaven Up Here' of course, will, of course, interest the long-term Bunnymen fan. The closing track even goes for the same trick that the title track from 'Ocean Rain' did. Go for a ballad, twist the knife in the emotional centres that have hopefully already been twisted enough. Great track 'Forgiven' is too, although 'Evergreen' as an album, fails to twist that emotional knife quite enough as it should. The next album would rectify this situation.

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    Reed Burroughs darko61888@netzero.net
    I have to admit I am a little biased when it comes to this album as I had my first kiss with "Nothing Ever Lasts Forever" in the backround, but to me this is the Bunnymen's best album. While I love the edgy urgent quality of their earlier records (Crocodiles through Porcupine), I have always been of the opinion that well crafted laid back pychadelic pop was their forte. Sergeant's opening guitar line of "Don't Let it Get You Down" immediately pulls you in, and there is something innately magical about McCulloch's vocal performace throughout the album. The whole album is consistently incredible, but the real standout is the aformentioned "Nothing Ever Lasts Forever". 4 years after hearing in for the first time it still gives me chills. From the opening acoustic strumming to the final refrain it is clear that something etheral and timeless is at work. I implore those who have written off this album to take a closer listen. I remember it taking me 3 or 4 listens to really get i! t, but when I did it immediately became a favorite. Evergreen has the ever ellusive "IT" like no other album I've ever heard, and only Wilco's "Yankee/Hotel/Foxtrot" even approaches it.

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    What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? ( 1999, UK pos 21 )
    What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? / Rust / Get In The Car / Baby Rain / History Chimes / Lost On You / Morning Sun / When It All Blows Over / Fools Like Us

    Once the hype of being a 'comeback' band had died down, Ian and Will simply got down to business. London Records inexplicably failed to promote this album very much at all then dropped the band shortly afterwards. Still, London Records have a history of doing that kind of thing, anyway. No matter, what's important is that 'What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?' is a quietly magnificent record. It contains songs that posess the kind of class that characterized 'Ocean Rain' and the like. Before I mention various good points, i'm going to pick out a few quibbles I have that just prevent this being a true classic album. After the great first five songs that manage to pick out a varied enough mood whilst being 100% cohesive, the album loses its way. There are only two songs that let the side down, 'Lost On You' and 'Morning Sun', neither of which are bad songs, just rather b-side esque and superflous. So, to make this a classic album, we'd need to replace those two songs with one song a bit uptempo, with ringing guitars and a powerful rhythm section. Do that and this album would be the match of 'Ocean Rain'. Well, we can dream and imagine and make assumptions, can't we? I'll go back to those first five songs. The title track is fairly understated, but contains a beauty that withstands repeated listens. First single from the set, 'Rust' deserved to be a massive hit but never was. Didn't get even a fraction of the airplay that 'Nothing Lasts Forever' received. For 'Evergreen', Echo And The Bunnymen were lifted by Britpop. That had died down by 1999 and 'Rust' struggled to reach top twenty. Such a shame, such a wonderfully romantic sounding song, absolutely filled with class and glory.

    So, following a ballad and a ballad anthem, we get an uptempo pop number with a great chorus and an air of summer about it. Get in that car, take it for a ride. Ian and Will, reaching for the stars. Something like that. 'Baby Rain' manages to be my personal favourite from the album, another classy anthemic epic of a song, an epic in four romantic minutes and seventeen exciting seconds. A-hem!! I'm not taking the piss, though. I'm being serious. It's good! It's great, especially leading into 'History Chimes', piano led and emotive and suddenly we really do have the best half of an Echo And The Bunnymen album since 'Side 2' of 'Ocean Rain'. As i've hinted at, the next two songs lose my interest a little, 'When It All Blows Over', no classic but nice enough. Then another epic wonder to close with the emotion packed 'Fools Like Us'. But, you can see the second half of this album, if we can call 'History Chimes' as being part of the first half, is somewhat lacking. Well, 'Fools Like Us' apart of course. Still, 'Lost On You' does have its moments and the album adds upto something great overall. I'd call the album a hugely enjoyable missed opportunity with hindsight, but we weren't to know back then that Echo And The Bunnymen had peaked for the second, and most likely final time.

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    Simon Roadnight flyingwalrus42@hotmail.com
    I completely agree, this album was better than it's predecessor. By now, Mac and Will had probably acknowledged that they were never going to reach the same level of critical acclaim as their heyday but this actually worked in their favour on their more recent work. History Chimes and the title track are classic Bunnymen in every sense of the word, whereas Baby Rain & Get In The Car were joyous outpourings of sound not prevelant on any of the tracks on Evergreen. I am an ardent Bunnymen fan and have every record and even when compared to the early albums, What Are You Going To Do... stands up there proudly alongside them. Non-believers really ought to have succumbed after the final refrain of Rust's 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright'.

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    Flowers 8 ( 2001, UK pos ? )
    King Of Kings / Supermellowman / Hide & Seek / Make Me Shine / It's Alright / Buried Alive / Flowers / Everybody Knows / Life Goes On / An Eternity Turns / Burn For Me

    The first thing I noticed from listening to 'Flowers' was that the new Bunnymen rhythm section sound pretty good, actually. The 2nd thing I noticed was the guitar playing of Will Seargent which truly sails and soars through the albums eleven songs. Indeed, with the highlights of the last couple of Bunnymen albums being the slower tunes more suited to Ian McCulloch, it's great to hear a new 'comeback' Bunnymen album where Will gets the chance to really shine. It's funny, but with the faster songs on this album, I really do here echoes of past Bunnymen, pre 'Ocean Rain' Bunnymen. Particularly on album highlight, 'Everybody Knows'. You could almost be forgiven for thinking you're listening to a cut from 'Heaven's Up Here', that's how good it is. Or, how Ian McCulloch puts it ( and we musn't forget him ) putting the no in november. You tell them, Mac. Still, overall 'Flowers' is an album that grows on you, no pun intended. Smart album title, actually. Songs that on the first few listens seem like nicely dressed pieces of nothing do end up winding their way into your soul. 'Flowers' is an album that presents me with a nice problem, actually. It's just so easy to listen to it over and over again once you do get past that initial stage of rejection. Plenty of the songs have exotic noises and other instrumentation in them as well, fleshing out the basic drums, guitar and keyboards. So, you hear things even a dozen listens in you didn't hear the first few times out. The opening track 'King Of Kings' is a good example, a strong track with very good instrumentation, superb lyrics. A mid-tempo song that's just so well constructed. Not all the album is as good as 'Everybody Knows' or 'King Of Kings', or i'd have given the album a '9'. Truth be told, the album is fairly unspectacular in the sense it's very much tried and tested Bunnymen formula. It also lacks a real high point, the best Bunnymen albums of the past had a 'Killing Moon', a 'Back Of Love' or even a 'Nothing Lasts Forever'.

    Ballad wise, 'Buried Alive' is as classy as we'd expect from The Bunnymen, pop-tune wise 'Make Me Shine' is catchy and anthemic. Switching to faster tunes again, 'An Eternity Turns' may not be the greatest actual song on the planet, but it makes a nice noise. 'It's Alright' is a fine tune and a fine noise, Mr Seargent really twisting and turning his guitar throughout the songs chorus and mid section. Another good album then and another record not to betray the classic Bunnymen name they built up through their intial golden years during the early eighties.

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    Readers Comments

    martin mfarnworth@hotmail.co.uk
    True that it doesn't quite have a classic to elevate it. Otherwise it's the sound of an effortlessly class act albeit all mid pace stuff. Whether it matters that much this on reached 56 in the album charts.

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    Siberia ( 2005 )
    Stormy Weather / All Because Of You Days / Parthenon Drive / In The Margins / Of A Life / Make Us Blind / Everything Kills You / Siberia / Sideways Eight / Scissors In The Sand / What If We Are?

    Blimey, it sounds just like Echo and the Bunnymen! 'Siberia' is a suitable title for this attempted windswept Bunnymen epic. It follows on from 'Flowers' in many ways and Will Seargent is the key to the sound once more. Indeed, 'Parthenon Drive' and 'Scissors In The Sand' wouldn't have sounded out of place on 'Porcupine' and that's high praise for the Bunnymen, a band formed in the latter part of the seventies. Of course, they are playing to ever dwindling audiences and the devoted few, yet those devoted few truly are devoted. History has played funny games with Echo And The Bunnymen because they never broke global as they should have done following 'Ocean Rain'. 'What If You Are' for example proves the guys can still pen an affecting ballad, always a talent of Mr McCulloch's in particular. His voice sounds magnificent here. It's tempting to believe the band are still capable of a classic aka 'The Killion Moon' even though the chance of that seemingly fades with every passing year. 'Stormy Weather' and 'All Because Of You Days' open 'Siberia' and could have come from anyone of the reunion albums, really. Classy, seemingly effortless elegant pop/rock. The guitar chimes and Ian rhymes away 'love/above', etc. It all brings a smile to this listeners face, at least. A warm glow for the nostalgics amongst you.

    'Make Us Blind' opens promisingly with an elastic burst yet never quite takes off as it should. 'In The Margins' is anthemic enough, yet sounds strangely like Coldplay or Keane. 'Sideways 8' is another track with an elastic, bendy rhythm section opening, so all props to the rhythm section. It's not much of a tune you understand, but the days are past where we expect every single cut on an Echo And The Bunnymen LP to be solid. We're just happy they're still around and this is another quality, above average LP from the boys.

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    The Fountain ( 2009 )
    Think I Need It Too / Forgotten Fields / Do You Know Who I Am? / Shroud of Turin / Life of a Thousand Crimes / The Fountain / Everlasting Neverendless / Proxy / Drivetime / The Idolness of Gods

    Reaching number 63 on the UK album charts and featuring a new rhythm section, 'The Fountain' is the eleventh studio album by Echo And The Bunnymen. It's fair to say anybody going to a Bunnymen gig since about 2002 will have noticed Ian McCulloch's fading vocal chords. I get older and understand the dangers of doing so, and what happens to the body. Ian is fifty-four years old age now, and if he travelled back in time and met himself, circa 1983, would probably punch himself in the face for still even existing. I can forgive anybody anything though for the lovely, 'The Idolness Of Gods' which features more McCulloch than Will Seargent you suspect, a mostly solo number with quiet backing acoustic and a few strings - it's all the more arresting for its simplicity. Anyway, when Echo And The Bunnymen first got back together with 'Evergreen' following the Electrafixion stuff, it made sense - they sold records and deserved to do so, their legacy from the 80s meant we could cut them a little slack, but then 'What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?' arrived, an album as good as anything they had ever put out. That records relative lack of commercial success saw two later album releases damned with faint praise - 'oh, you guys are great, great new album, listened to it twice during the past year' - that kind of praise.

    'The Fountain' is an ok pop/rock album, produced by someone more suited to boy bands (John McLaughlin, no not that one!) and it results in some friendly sounding, comfortable tunes. The best said for the rhythm section this time around is that they don't get in the way, Ian and Will very much lead this album, although neither spring any surprises. Nine songs in for instance, we get 'Drivetime' which has clean guitars, melodic vocals and strings and a Piano outro - it's very good and proves these guys can still build a good tune.'Shroud Of Turin' is a highlight in that Mac gets some distinguishable lyrics into play, clever wordplay and a good Bunnymen melody. A complaint levelled against 'The Fountain' is that it isn't much of a rock album, true, neither was 'What Are You Going To Do...' but that did what it set out to. The nearest we get to a rock tune here is album opener 'Think I Need It Too', a song where Seargent's guitars are chiming and to the fore, yet also where McCulloch's vocal chords show signs of age and the rhythm section prove they are no Les Pattinson and Pete de Freitas. 'Life Of 1,000 Crimes' is half a great song, it lacks a beginning and an ending and lacks one of those magical Bunnymen middle eights - think 'The Cutter'. Listen to the title track here and learn that it's nice and that it's spring-time, an effect slightly ruined by McCulloch's tired vocals. That's the album as a whole - a decent effort from a band thirty years past their peak, but containing enough moments that remind you of who they once were.

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    this page last updated 06/09/13

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