Echo & The Bunnymen – Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here, Porcupine & Ocean Rain reissues review

The problem with the gold old days – when everything was better, wasn’t it – is that everyone’s start and end at a different time. If for instance your good old days begin in roughly 1979 you might immediately think of the post punk and/or new wave scenes as that definitive moment when stars aligned; you probably can’t remember what you had for breakfast yesterday, but you’ll never forget the moment you first heard Joy Division, The Clash, The Cure and almost certainly Echo & The Bunnymen.

Blessed (Or cursed) with figurehead/gobshite front man Ian ‘Mac’ McCulloch, it looked for a time that the Bunnymen could, willingly or not, inherit Joy Division’s mantle after the tragic death of Ian Curtis, their anthracite 1980 debut album Crocodiles veering between introvert romanticism and catharsis. Released the following year Heaven Up Here was that rare thing, a follow up that eclipsed it’s critically adored predecessor, the fractious, scattergun energy of before refined with wisps of psychedelia and a rapidly growing sense of confidence.

Seemingly never out of the music press. McCulloch spoke contemptuously in public about the band’s perceived rivals – especially Simple Minds and especially U2 – but on their third album Porcupine took on all comers with genius pop songs like The Cutter, The Back of Love and Never Stop. In an age old trade off between supposed right and supposed wrong, punters loved it and scribblers declared it a heretical travesty. They probably had more of a point with 1984’s Ocean Rain, for which the services of an orchestra and a Parisian studio were engaged, but even so it lurked uncategorisably somewhere between hit than miss, with Seven Seas and The Killing Moon’s somber operatics amongst their greatest moments.

Reissued on vinyl, these are tokens of someone’s good old days, which might now well be yours.

You can read a full review here.

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