Artist: Echo And The Bunnymen
Genre: Indie Rock
Release Date: 30 May 2014
Label: 429Records/ Caroline/ Universal
Back in the 80s in the UK, if you were one of the cool-kids you had a choice, you liked either national institutions U2 or SIMPLE MINDS (we let the Germans have DEPECHE MODE). But if you were one of the really-cool-kids, ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN was your band of choice. Led by pouty, gobby singer Ian McCulloch, following this lot allowed you to borrow your dad's trench coat, wear shades indoors and put on lip-gloss like the girls. And the band wrote some fabulous, other-wordly music, peaking on the album 'Ocean Rain' before things inevitably started to go wrong. Splitting up, reforming with a crap new singer, splitting up again, solo careers and lacklustre releases. Yet now, with original members McCulloch and Sergeant, comes 'Meteorites', an album that at least comes close to the glory days of old. Good. They've been missed.
To disappoint the doubters comes opener 'Meteorites', its cocky title a reminder of how Mr McCulloch, never one to be shy about his greatness after all, sees this next chapter. A celestial body rolling majestically through space, this slow-motion slice of gorgeousness has it all. A beautiful, hushed and breathy vocal, dramatic, measured percussion and some restrained and soaring guitars. Then a massive chorus. Some strings. Harmonies. Their best melody since 'Bring On The Dancing Horses'. It's frankly obscene that anyone can put so much into one song and get away with it. The old dog has done it though, but don't tell him. He already knows.
'Holy Moses' is a slice of dreamy pop-psychedelia that shows THE HORRORS how to do it properly, and 'Constantinople' wigs-out on the back of some heavy eastern-tinged guitars and a dreamy, floaty chorus before the guitars crash in again. Elsewhere there's the kind of feel-good pop the Bunnymen were always skilled at, horns parping joyously in the background during 'Grapes Upon The Vine', and on the swooping swoon of 'Lovers On The Run', you just want to go cavorting through a field somewhere whooping or whatever you do when running through a field in a frighteningly good mood. The attention to melody throughout never wavers.
See the effortless cool of 'Explosions' which sounds instantly recognisable while sounding unlike anything else, or on 'Market Towns' which is almost ludicrously bouncy and cheerful. From a man that once wrote possibly the gloomiest album of the early eighties ('Heaven Up Here') he's clearly having the time of his life here. Which leaves the shimmer of final track 'New Horizons' to kiss us on our way, the name alone further indication of how ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN see this late re-blooming of their career. It's lazy, hazy pulse is the perfect end to 'Meteorites', like sitting down in the shade with a cold beer having made the absolute most of a perfect summery wasp-free day.
'Meteorites' manages to sound fresh and inventive, while wagging a teacherly finger at the young upstarts who are currently ploughing the psychedelic field. It also draws together the finest elements of the band's past, which should please fans old and new, a real achievement and never easy to pull off. And me? As one of those very-cool-kids from the dim and distant past? I'm off to buy a trench coat and a pair of shades.
02. Holy Moses
04. Is This A Breakdown
05. Grapes Upon The Vine
06. Lovers On The Run
07. Burn It Down
09. Market Town
10. New Horizons
Ian Mc Culloch
http://www.bunnymen.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/thebunnymen
Total: 8.5 / 10