The Bunnymen’s METEORITES Streaming Now

echo-and-the-bunnymen-meteoritesFor some one of my age (46), it’s very hard not to trap Echo and the Bunnymen in the best memories of my youth.

From 1980 to 1984, the band produced four classic albums in a row, the best of which was HEAVEN UP HERE.  Their self-titled album of 1987 was ok, but nothing spectacular.  In 1990, with a new singer, Echo released an album that has stood the test of time rather well.  Though it’s simply not Echo and the Bunnymen, REVERBERATION is a really catchy pop-rock album with a lot of neo-psychadelia.  REVERBERATION, still, is better than anything else Echo has released post-OCEAN RAIN.

In 1997, Echo reformed with Ian McCulloch once again taking lead vocals.  Everything Echo has produced since 1997 has been unsatisfying, an Echo of an Echo with momentary flashes of brilliance.

The new album, METEORITES, slated to come out in four days, is good but not astounding.  Maybe this is simply my fault, my failure to appreciate all that is currently Echo.  I very much want the Echo of my youth–angry, hard edged, nasty, lush, claustrophobic, and angular.

METERORITES is, as I just noted, good but not astounding.  It’s a safe and nice return to the late 1980s without causing any problems and without taking any serious chances.  What saddens me, though, is that the album is on the edge of astounding.  A different producer, a different engineer, a different some one (as Rush has down with their last several albums) might have made METEORITES spectacular.

As McCulloch has recently said, METEORITES is a concept album.  And, so it seems to be.  There’s a lot of discussion of religion, especially historical religion.  I’m just not sure what it all means.  Still, Echo was always best when combining elements of hard rock and prog with pop sensibilities.

McCulloch’s voice is excellent and the same can be said of Sargeant’s guitar work.  But, again, it’s all so safe.  The bass and the drums are bland, and, thus, an essential part of Echo seems missing.

The Guardian is streaming the entire album, and you can judge for yourself before buying it.  After listening, I’ve decided not to purchase it.  I know I would only listen to it a few times, but then I would forget about it, relegating it to mere un-accessed space on my hard drive.

If you’re looking for the best of Echo, you must return to the band’s past: CROCODILES (1980); HEAVEN UP HERE (1981); PORCUPINE (1983); and OCEAN RAIN (1984).  These four albums rank as four of the best in the rock era.  Additionally, as Pete Blum has recently argued, the best modern Echo is to be found in Sergeant and Patterson’s prog band, Poltergeist.

Pete Blum’s Open Letter to BBT

by Pete Blum

Dear BBT,

BBT EE2It feels as though it wants to be a “love letter” of a sort.  But it isn’t really there yet.  It’s not intensely passionate; it’s not yet full of those deep and personal codes that arise from having spent time as lovers or as the closest of friends.  It’s more like a very early and tentative venture, saying that I’ve been seeing and hearing you, I’ve been watching you and feeling the growth of some kind of friendship, but I wonder if it is (or could be) more.  I’m afraid, too.  Afraid of how you might respond, or even more afraid that you will not respond.  Afraid that if any blood flows into my words, you might miss it and find flattery alone, perhaps sprinkled with a spur here, a barb there, if that’s how you take some of it.  Do I dare ask for your patience when you don’t really know me?

Anyway, this is mainly about our third time “alone together,” as I truly tested that “together”:  It seems to have “tested positive” as the medical folk say.  I can’t refrain from this reaching out, from this speaking (though with a computer keyboard that may not be quite as clumsy as a voice).  It may be selfish on my part.  But isn’t it true that everything may be such, for all of us?

The Underfall Yard was where we first met, right after our mutual friend BB (no T) pointed you out to me with undisguised awe.  I heard, I believe, that at which his awe was aimed, or that which called to it.  Then the first installment of English Electric seemed to confirm it, in concert with some reaching back to earlier efforts.  You seemed so familiar, but also to move so easily and sensually beyond the familiar.  I was brought to an emotional dead halt by “A Boy in Darkness.”  I must confess, it had my attention locked in its cold embrace for days, haunting every other element of my everydayness.  I wrote a brief note about that before.

Continue reading “Pete Blum’s Open Letter to BBT”