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Pop - Released September 6, 2019 | Rhino

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Pop - Released September 6, 2019 | Rhino

Bringing together all of Echo & the Bunnymen's John Peel sessions for the first time, this 21-track album charts the band's rise from indie unknowns to household names. Included are session versions of some of their most recognizable songs, including "Villiers Terrace" and "The Killing Moon." © Rich Wilson /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 9, 2018 | Rhino

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Pop - Released November 9, 2018 | Rhino

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 5, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

When Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant got an offer from BMG to sign Echo & the Bunnymen to a recording contract, the label had a plan for them to re-record their old classics with an orchestra. McCulloch thought it was a fine idea, as he wanted to sing the songs from the perspective of an older and wiser man. By the time The Stars, the Ocean & the Moon was released, though, it had become something a little different. While some of the songs were done with piano and strings, many were given arrangements that sounded very similar to the originals, and there were two new songs mixed in among the timeless tracks. It makes for a jumbled listening experience that is sure to leave many Echo fans wondering just why the record exists. The songs that hew closely to the originals, like "Bring on the Dancing Horses" and "Rescue," come off like brittle, fidelity-challenged ghosts of the originals, lacking the majesty and mystery that made them so brilliant to begin with. The songs that take liberties with the arrangements are more interesting. "Nothing Lasts Forever," a track from the mostly overlooked Evergreen, makes fine use of strings, marimba, and organ, creating a melancholy bed for one of Mac's better vocals. The piano-and-orchestra version of "The Killing Moon" is no patch on the original, but at least it attempts something different and almost succeeds. That's more than can be said for the accordion-led take on "Seven Seas," which is a little too on the nose, sea shanty-wise. Oddly, the newly recorded songs sound best. Both the "The Somnambulist" and "How Far?" are fine late-period Echo and allow Sergeant a chance to play guitar -- he's mostly missing in action on the rest of the record -- and have a rhythmic drive and power lacking elsewhere. They're also the only songs to mix McCulloch's vocals with any delicacy at all. They are part of the overall sound and blended with harmonies instead of being too far in front and hung out to dry with barely any reverb or artifice to cushion them. It's clear that he wanted his voice to be the central focus of the new takes, but it's also clear that he can't carry songs the way he used to. Sad as it is to say, his voice lacks command, and when matched with the weak arrangements, mostly unimaginative string parts, and overall thin sound, it adds up to a record that's less the vital transformation the band hoped for and more of an embarrassment. Apart from the two new songs that bode well for future albums of original material, there is absolutely no reason for Echo fans to choose a spin of The Stars, the Ocean & the Moon over another listen to the songs in their original perfect state. © Tim Sendra /TiVo

Pop - Released March 17, 2017 | WM UK

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Along with being one of the best bands of the 1980s, able to conjure up swirling dark clouds of moody psychedelic music built around Ian McCulloch's resonant vocals and songs that sink their hooks deep under the flesh, Echo & the Bunnymen were also a hell of a cover band, especially on a concert stage. It's All Live Now, an album culled from two mid-'80s live shows, proves that fact conclusively over the course of eight well-chosen covers the Bunnymen make their own. Seven are taken from a 1985 show in Sweden and find them in fine fighting form as they slash and crash through well-known songs by the Rolling Stones ("Paint It Black"), Television ("Friction"), and the Doors ("Soul Kitchen"), deeper cuts by the Modern Lovers ("She Cracked") and the Velvet Underground ("Run Run Run"), as well as the jangling Dylan classic "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" and the garage rock nugget "Action Woman" by the Litter. Will Sergeant's guitar playing is especially brilliant on these cuts; he sometimes tends to sublimate his skills as a lead player in favor of creating atmosphere within the songs, but here he can really cut loose. Another song from the show, a ripping version of "Crocodiles," is included too. Two more songs are taken from a 1983 show, a slow-burn take on the Velvets' "Heroin," which a cheeky Mac introduces as "one of the first songs we ever wrote," and an extended romp through "Do It Clean," which features Mac, in one of his trademark bits of stagecraft, singing snippets of the old chestnut "When I Fall in Love" and James Brown's "Sex Machine." All the tracks were included on the 2001 Crystal Days box set, but they sound really good extracted and presented as a live document of a great band operating right close to its peak. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Punk / New Wave - Released June 17, 2014 | Concert Live Ltd

Legendary mope-poppers Echo & the Bunnymen embarked on an international tour shortly after the release of their 2014 album Meteorites. Led by founding members and last original members standing Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant, the duo led their newly configured backing band through a spirited set list at a Shepherd's Bush Empire gig on June 8, 2014, recorded and released in full as Live in London later the same year. Over the course of the 17-track set list, the band offered electric performances of both new material and now classic essentials from the '80s and early '90s such as "The Cutter," "Seven Seas," and "Bring on the Dancing Horses." © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 25, 2014 | Savoy

After they reunited in the mid-'90s, Echo & the Bunnymen cranked out album after album of decent-to-good material, spotlighting Ian McCulloch's ageless vocals and the band's sure way with a dramatic hook. For 2014's Meteorites, the duo of McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant turned to legendary producer Youth to help guide the album, and came up with a record that compares favorably to the best work of their original run in the '80s. Where their previous effort, Fountain, was a big-sounding, very clean modern rock album that reduced the band to its essential core, this one aspires to more epic heights. Teeming with giant string arrangements, widescreen vocal production, and songs that hark back to the glory days of Ocean Rain, the album is a mysterious, murky, impressively nostalgic affair. With Sergeant providing his typically concise and perfectly complementary guitar lines and Mac digging deep to turn in one of his better vocal performances in a while, the duo give Youth a lot to work with and he spins it into some gauzy magic. Tracks like "Lovers on the Run" and "Holy Moses" have a dramatic intensity and sweeping power that their more focused and stripped-back songs of recent years have surely missed. When they go big, it works extremely well, like on the opening title track, a slowly unspooling epic with truly heart-rending string crescendos and some of Mac's most broken-sounding singing in a long time, or the huge-sounding "Market Town," which runs seven minutes, features a long Sergeant guitar solo, and doesn't flag at all. Even the simpler, more direct songs, like the quiet ballad "Grapes Upon the Vine," have a big sound, though not so big as to overwhelm the fragile emotions on display. Youth and the group walk the line between grandiose and epic throughout, never falling on the wrong side even once. Between the impressive set of songs, the totally invested performances, and Youth's brilliant production, Meteorites ends up as a late-in-the-game triumph for the band and a worthy successor to their finest album, Ocean Rain. It may be too late to really matter, and they may be doomed to be seen as a nostalgia act, but many of the bands in 2014 that are making neo-psychedelic albums would be well served to check with the Bunnymen to see how to go about things the correct way. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 25, 2014 | 429 Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | 429 Records

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After they reunited in the mid-'90s, Echo & the Bunnymen cranked out album after album of decent-to-good material, spotlighting Ian McCulloch's ageless vocals and the band's sure way with a dramatic hook. For 2014's Meteorites, the duo of McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant turned to legendary producer Youth to help guide the album, and came up with a record that compares favorably to the best work of their original run in the '80s. Where their previous effort, Fountain, was a big-sounding, very clean modern rock album that reduced the band to its essential core, this one aspires to more epic heights. Teeming with giant string arrangements, widescreen vocal production, and songs that hark back to the glory days of Ocean Rain, the album is a mysterious, murky, impressively nostalgic affair. With Sergeant providing his typically concise and perfectly complementary guitar lines and Mac digging deep to turn in one of his better vocal performances in a while, the duo give Youth a lot to work with and he spins it into some gauzy magic. Tracks like "Lovers on the Run" and "Holy Moses" have a dramatic intensity and sweeping power that their more focused and stripped-back songs of recent years have surely missed. When they go big, it works extremely well, like on the opening title track, a slowly unspooling epic with truly heart-rending string crescendos and some of Mac's most broken-sounding singing in a long time, or the huge-sounding "Market Town," which runs seven minutes, features a long Sergeant guitar solo, and doesn't flag at all. Even the simpler, more direct songs, like the quiet ballad "Grapes Upon the Vine," have a big sound, though not so big as to overwhelm the fragile emotions on display. Youth and the group walk the line between grandiose and epic throughout, never falling on the wrong side even once. Between the impressive set of songs, the totally invested performances, and Youth's brilliant production, Meteorites ends up as a late-in-the-game triumph for the band and a worthy successor to their finest album, Ocean Rain. It may be too late to really matter, and they may be doomed to be seen as a nostalgia act, but many of the bands in 2014 that are making neo-psychedelic albums would be well served to check with the Bunnymen to see how to go about things the correct way. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released November 7, 2011 | Ocean Rain

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Pop - Released September 22, 2009 | WM UK

Live at the Royal Albert Hall features Echo & the Bunnymen performing at the storied London venue on July 19, 1983. © TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released June 15, 2009 | California Dreamin'

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 3, 2007 | Cooking Vinyl

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2006 | Cooking Vinyl

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 31, 2005 | Cooking Vinyl

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 2005 | Cooking Vinyl

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 5, 2005 | Cooking Vinyl

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2005 | Cooking Vinyl

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Pop - Released December 7, 2004 | Rhino - Warner Records

The group's third album is a solid outing, a noticeably better listen than its predecessor, Heaven Up Here. Songs are intriguing and elaborate, often featuring swooping, howling melodic lines. Arrangements here owe a lot to 1960s psychedelia and feature lots of reverb, washed textures, intricate production touches, and altered guitar sounds. Ian McCulloch's vocals are yearning, soaring, and hyper-expressive here, almost to the point of being histrionic, most notably on "Clay," "Ripeness," and the title track. Driving bass and drums lend the songs urgency and keep the music from collapsing into self-indulgence. Parallels between the group's U.S. contemporaries such as Translator, Wire Train, and R.E.M. can be drawn, though all seem to have developed aspects of this style at about the same time -- and none utilize it as flamboyantly as the Bunnymen do. Highlights here include "Back of Love" (with its galloping drumbeat and fragmented yet ardent vocal line) and "Gods Will Be Gods" (which gradually speeds up from beginning to end, working itself into a swirling frenzy). This album is well worth hearing. © David Cleary /TiVo