Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Echo and the Bunnymen: Siberia

It has been four years since The Bunnymen have graced us with an album of completely original material, and "Siberia" makes me believe the wait was well worth it. This album was produced by Hugh Jones who produced the band's second album, "Heaven Up Here," in 1981. This simple fact will surely bring about comparisons to their early work and references to the band "returning to their classic sound."

For me, there is no kind of "return" or attempts to sound like their younger selves on "Siberia," and there haven't been since the band's 1997 "comeback" album, "Evergreen." Since then, I believe the band has simply grown, and matured, honing what they do best with an eternal exploration of their core themes. This album shows that Hugh Jones has done the same, and truly "gets" the band. For as lush and complex as the bands arrangements are, there is not a bit of it lost or muddled, which could so easily happen with the Bunnymen's swirling, psychedelic, dream pop.

If you're a fan, I don't believe you'll be disappointed with this album. Ian McCulloch's voice is at an all time best, shifting from husky and deep to melodic, emotional, and romantic without effort. Lyrically, too, the album is strong and just what you'd expect from the Bunnymen.

My only complaint about "Siberia" is that there is no sense of a complete, homogenous album here. These are 11 incredibly good songs, and they really show off McCulloch and Sergeant's talent and diversity at song writing, but, to some extent it works against them when listening to the entire album. This is the only thing that keeps this album in the realm of "really good... but not quite great". Still, several of the songs (in particular, "Stormy Weather," "Parthenon Drive," and "Everything Kills You") will probably be in heavy rotation playlist for a very long time.

Today is the official US release, and "Siberia" is now available for download at the iTunes Music Store, and the CD is 18% off at Amazon.

You can see a video of the first single, "Stormy Weather," at the official Echo and the Bunnymen site. That song is also available for free download (via Better Propoganda):


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