|Echo & The Bunnymen||The Killing Moon — The Singles 1980~1990|
Echo & The Bunnymen — The Killing Moon — The Singles 1980~1990 ••→ The greatest song ever written — even singer Ian McCulloch says it himself — and nine more from Liverpool’s indie titans.
Location: Liverpool, England
Formed: September 1978
Album release: 30 Jun 2017
Record Label: Warner Music UK Ltd
01 The Killing Moon 5:46
02 The Cutter 3:53
03 The Puppet 3:08
04 Bring On the Dancing Horses 3:56
05 Silver 3:19
06 Back of Love 3:13
07 Rescue 4:27
08 Enlighten Me 5:01
09 People Are Strange 3:38
10 Never Stop 3:31
11 Over the Wall 5:51
12 Seven Seas 3:19
13 A Promise 4:03
℗ 2017 This Compilation Warner Music UK Ltd
David Quantick / 16 Jul 2017 / Score: ****
All the ‘hits’ and more.
••→ For many people, there’s always a sense of regret and relief with Echo & The Bunnymen’s career: regret that they never became as big as their contemporaries U2, and relief that they never became as big as their contemporaries U2.
••→ Despite their apparent stadium~worthiness (and attempts to radio~befriend their sound), the Bunnymen were just a bit too cool and weird to become arena dullards, with Ian McCulloch also being unusually lippy in more than one way.
••→ This new single compilation confirms the brilliance of the Bunnymen at every stage of their career. Unusually, it even contains Enlighten Me from their Mac~less period, as well as early flop The Puppet, while missing out Lips Like Sugar and Zoo debut Pictures On My Wall.
••→ It ranges from the epic title track to the twisty Rescue, through the cloning of People Are Strange and the college dancefloor hit Bring On The Dancing Horses.
••→ It feels a bit scattershot as a compilation, but then Echo & The Bunnymen left consistency to their flag~waving peers, and were all the better for it.
••→ An entry~level compilation, but a good one. ••→ http://teamrock.com/ About Echo & The Bunnymen
Ξ•Ξ Echo & the Bunnymen’s dark, swirling fusion of gloomy post~punk and Doors~inspired psychedelia brought the group a handful of British hits in the early ‘80s, while attracting a cult following in the United States. The Bunnymen grew out of the Crucial Three, a late~‘70s trio featuring vocalist Ian McCulloch, Pete Wylie, and Julian Cope. Cope and Wylie left the group by the end of 1977, forming the Teardrop Explodes and Wah!, respectively. McCulloch met guitarist Will Sergeant in the summer of 1978 and the pair began recording demos with a drum machine that the duo called “Echo.” Adding bassist Les Pattinson, the band made its live debut at the Liverpool club Eric’s at the end of 1978, calling itself Echo & the Bunnymen.
Ξ•Ξ In March of 1979, the group released its first single, “Pictures on My Wall”/“Read It in Books,” on the local Zoo record label. The single and their popular live performances led to a contract with Korova. After signing the contract, the group discarded the drum machine, adding drummer Pete de Freitas. Released in the summer of 1980, their debut album, Crocodiles, reached number 17 on the U.K. charts. Shine So Hard, an EP released in the fall, became their first record to crack the U.K. Top 40. With the more ambitious and atmospheric Heaven Up Here (1981), the group began to gain momentum, thanks to positive reviews; it became their first U.K. Top Ten album. Two years later, Porcupine appeared, becoming the band’s biggest hit (peaking at number two on the U.K. charts) and launching the Top Ten single “The Cutter.”
Ξ•Ξ “The Killing Moon” became the group’s second Top Ten hit at the beginning of 1984, yet its follow~up, “Silver,” didn’t make it past number 30 when it was released in May. Ocean Rain was released that same month to great critical acclaim; peaking at number four in Britain, the record became the Bunnymen’s first album to chart in the U.S. Top 100. The following year was a quiet one for the band as they released only one new song, “Bring on the Dancing Horses,” which was included on the compilation Songs to Learn & Sing. De Freitas left the band at the start of 1986 and was replaced by former Haircut 100 drummer Mark Fox; by September, de Freitas rejoined the group.
Ξ•Ξ Echo & the Bunnymen returned with new material in the summer of 1987, releasing the single “The Game” and a self~titled album. Echo & the Bunnymen became their biggest American hit, peaking at number 51; it was a success in England as well, reaching number four. However, the album indicated that the group was in a musical holding pattern. At the end of 1988, McCulloch left the band to pursue a solo career; the rest of the band decided to continue without the singer. Tragedy hit the band in the summer of 1989 when de Freitas was killed in an auto accident. McCulloch released his first solo album, Candleland, in the fall of 1989; it peaked at number 18 in the U.K. and number 159 in the U.S. Echo & the Bunnymen released Reverberation, their first album recorded without McCulloch, in 1990; it failed to make the charts. McCulloch released his second solo album, Mysterio, in 1992. Two years later, McCulloch and Sergeant formed Electrafixion, releasing their first album in 1995. In 1997, the duo re~teamed with Pattinson to re~form Echo & the Bunnymen, issuing the LP Evergreen. Two years later, they returned with What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? The new millennium brought Echo & the Bunnymen back to the basics. The British press touted the band’s storybook flair found on 1983’s Ocean Rain and figured such spark would be found on their ninth album, Flowers. Issued in spring 2001, it reflected McCulloch's dark breezy vocals and Sergeant’s signature hooks. Live in Liverpool, a concert disc capturing the band’s two gigs at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts while on tour in support of Flowers, followed a year later. For 2005’s Siberia, McCulloch and Sergeant joined producer Hugh Jones for the band’s most classic effort since their 1997 comeback. A second proper live album, 2006’s Me, I’m All Smiles, captured the Bunnymen’s gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire while on tour in support of Siberia. In early 2008, the band announced that they would be releasing their next album, The Fountain, as well as playing a show at Radio City Music Hall to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Late 2010 also brought a short run of equally interesting U.K. shows, when the band played both Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here live in their entirety. For the next few years they continued to remain active on the live circuit, most notably playing as the touring support act for a re~formed James in 2013. Ξ•Ξ By 2014 they had readied their first studio album in five years. The Youth~produced Meteorites sessions were funded by pledgemusic.com and the album was released in the first half of that year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Over the Wall
••→ By now, the Bunnymen were contemporaries of New Order and the Cure: big, but still culty, making dark music with occasional shards of sunlight. Touring had toughened them up into an increasingly formidable, slightly psychedelic rock group, capable of seamlessly dropping snatches of classic songs (everything from the Doors to Frank Sinatra) into their own on stage. The once shy, chronically myopic McCulloch had evolved into an entertainingly opinionated frontman, earning him the nickname Mac the Mouth. These factors (plus the creative powers of magic mushrooms) all forged their second album, Heaven up Here. The album’s epic centerpiece appears in more subtle, textured form than the Buxton live version. An exercise in controlled power and smouldering aggression, McCulloch’s lyrics erupt in a fabulously ominous chorus: “Over the wall, hand in hand / over the wall, watch us fall.” The Bunnymen accompanied its release in May 1981 by hastily dropping the much~loved “camo” gear for “old men’s”~style raincoats and hats; many a wrongfooted fan faced a frantic dash to the nearest gentlemen’s outfitter.
••→ The gulf that existed between the cool~but~cult world of college circuit bands and the chart mainstream in 1981 was coldly illustrated by the flop of the Bunnymen’s next single. Because music press front covers didn’t have anything like the power of daytime airplay, A Promise limped to a lowly and faintly inexplicable No 49. Although Heaven Up Here itself made the Top 10, this single is one of their canon’s forgotten gems which rarely features in their live sets. Nevertheless, it’s a song that shows that the band could navigate delicate and graceful as well as powerfully haunting. McCulloch’s evocative, elemental phrase “Light on the water” inspired the sleeve imagery, shot on South Wales beach as a flock of seagulls hurriedly take flight from the sudden arrival of a bunch of mouthy Scousers.
The Back of Love
••→ In 1982 and 1983, the Bunnymen were just about managing to juggle the conflicting demands of being a largely alternative/music paper group and a bona fide chart act. This status weighed heavier on their shoulders once The Back of Love breached the Top 20 in 1982. Unlike rivals U2 and Simple Minds, the Liverpudlians didn’t make a conscious effort to step up to stadiums or embrace the mainstream — as McCulloch has been keen to remind everybody since. Instead, the singer enjoyed taking pot shots at Bono and Jim Kerr in the press while his band entertained their fanbase with wilfully anti~commercial japes. They gigged in the Outer Hebrides and even cajoled the fanbase to cycle around Liverpool on a route mapped out in the shape of a rabbit’s ears.
••→ Neverthless, their music was becoming gradually more commercial and here they bolster their trademark mystery and beauty with a faster tempo, cellos, woodwind and stringed instruments. The breathlessly paced Back of Love and Top 10 smash The Cutter showed that they could chart while keeping their cool credentials, and they celebrated with two nights at the Albert Hall under the slogan: “Lay down thy raincoat and groove.”
The Killing Moon
••→ According to Mac the Mouth, this is the greatest song ever writtenand featured on1984’s Ocean Rain, a record advertised by the band’s record company as “the greatest ever made”. After the experimentalism of the previous Porcupine, Ocean Rain found McCulloch and co blending sublime balladry with ornate orchestrations, and both the album and this first single from it are probably their strongest.
••→ In 2015, McCulloch told the Guardian that The Killing Moon’s lyrics about “birth, death, eternity and God — whatever that is — and the eternal battle between fate and the human will” had come to him in a dream, and he hastily adapted them to fit the chords of Bowie’s Space Oddity, played backwards. Guitarist Will Sergeant suggested that the song’s unusual use of balalaika had been inspired by a trip to Russia in which they had come across young communists in bri~nylon flares. The result: an unabashed 80s classic which took the band’s music to a global audience some years later when it was used in Donnie Darko. Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/
••→ Crocodiles (1980)
••→ Heaven Up Here (1981)
••→ Porcupine (1983) reached #2 in the UK
••→ Ocean Rain (1984)
••→ Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)
••→ Reverberation (1990)
••→ What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? (1999)
••→ Flowers (2001)
••→ Siberia (2005)
••→ The Fountain (2009).
|Echo & The Bunnymen||The Killing Moon — The Singles 1980~1990|