100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #77 Echo & The Bunnymen – The Cutter

Released : 1983

Ian McCulloch was never shy about Echo And The Bunnymen’s credentials, declaring them without a trace of irony the best band in the world, loudly denigrating U2 and Simple minds for pandering to the masses and instilling the kind of devotion in their raincoated followers seen elsewhere only in religious cults.

If their greatest album was 1984’s stately Ocean Rain, as singles both The Cutter and it’s steepling companion The Back of Love laid down serious credentials to support McCulloch’s boasts. The former began with a spectral, Eastern sounding melody – laid down by producer Dave Balfe and which they subsequently dismissed as being too much like their Liverpudlian rivals The Teardrop Explodes – before giving way to a euphoric, tangled mass of straight armed riffs and fevered vocals.

Like many things they were trying at the time it shouldn’t have worked, but it did and the only other thing for it was to then decamp for the video to Iceland’s spectacular Gullfoss falls, an icescape whose 200 meter drops the band approached wearing the equivalent of slip ons. It’s the sort of thing only immortals get away with and briefly, they almost were.

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