Echo & the Bunnymen: The Stars, the Oceans & the Moon review – Embellished classics

Wed, Oct 3, 2018, 08:00

   
 

Album:
The Stars, the Oceans & the Moon

Artist:
Echo & the Bunnymen

Label:
BMG

Genre:
Rock

Liverpool’s Echo & the Bunnymen have spent the best part of 40 years being brashly relevant and then quietly redundant. Through the decades, however, as lead singer Ian McCulloch languished in lounge rooms for unrecognised and embittered geniuses, the band’s songs kept the boat afloat.

Now down to the core duo of McCulloch and original guitarist Will Sergeant, the Bunnymen’s new album isn’t new at all, but rather 13 songs culled from their back catalogue enhanced by what they say are “strings and things”.

On the face of it, this would appear to be yet another stopgap along the way to fizzling out, but the surprise is that the by now overly familiar (if still classic) post-punk material has been given a lifeline.

The band are now smartly refurbished thanks to shrewdly applied embellishments of orchestral and brass instrumentation to the likes of Bring on the Dancing Horses, Lips like Sugar, Rescue, Seven Seas, Ocean Rain and The Cutter.

The best, perhaps, is kept until the closing track, The Killing Moon, in which McCulloch’s nicotine-seared voice imbues the song with something quite different and very tender.

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