Echo & The Bunnymen
See also.....Ian McCulloch
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN will be releasing “Siberia”, their first album in four years in Ireland on Friday 16th September 2005. This will be preceeded by a single (title tbc) on 2nd September.
Siberia is the crystallization of everything that has made the band so wonderful during their illustrious 26 year career. The single-minded powerhouse motif of Parthenon Drive recalls the sonically hypnotic Heaven Up Here album of 1981, Everything Kills You is as achingly anthemic as any of McCulloch’s greatest ballads, Make Us Blind marries Spector pop sensibilities to brooding indie magnificence, while the title track is another classic-in-waiting; a semi-funk riff taken to dizzier heights by a top drawer Will Sergeant snake charmer guitar line.
Explains McCulloch, “The band we’ve got around us now are the closest to the old Bunnymen we’ve ever had. Not that we’ve intentionally set out to capture the past in any way. I think I’d been trying to get away from the approach of Heaven Up Here or Porcupine where a lot of the songs were based on a single note, or a pulse even, but with this album I thought, let’s just slide in there and see what happens. It was Will, really, who reminded me that we used to do things more instinctively. We’ve tried to be a little less structured in the songwriting, but not forgetting the importance of a good song. We’ve got the balance here, I think.”
One telling link to the past has been the recruiting of veteran studio wiz Hugh Jones as producer, the first time he’d worked with the Bunnymen since acting as producer on the group’s second album.
“Having Hugh on board has been great,” says Sergeant. “To have him there all the time, it’s as if he’s a sort of glue fitting everything together. We haven’t had that luxury for a while, because we’ve produced ourselves the last few times. What’s been happening with this record is that I’ve been going in during the day doing all my bits, and then Mac’s been going in of a night. Hugh’s been at the controls making sense of it all. It’s made it quite interesting to have myself and Mac working separately this time, although we had loads of rehearsals before we went in, we all knew what we were doin’. It’s a kind of a trust thing between us, which works really well.”
& THE BUNNYMEN
In January 2001, Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch, the founding members, and driving forces behind Echo & The Bunnymen since 1978, were at The Dairy, a studio in South London, finishing the mixes for “Flowers”, their eighth full length album. The two of them were working close together, having fun and hit a creative peak on a par with those halcyon days of 1984 when they were writing and recording the classic ‘Ocean Rain’ record. For the new album, Ian and Will worked together for ten days writing the songs before recording them in their home town of Liverpool. Alongside Ian and Will were three local players; Alex Gleave (bass), Vinny Jamieson (drums) and Ceri James (keyboards).
The first fruits of this latest Bunnymen venture were the single “It’s Alright” released in April followed by the release of the album “Flowers” in May, on Cooking Vinyl. The second single “Make Me Shine” was released in August 2001. The album garnered some of the best reviews of their career with The Times suggesting it was their best since the 'comeback' in 1997 and The Independent considering it their best to date. 'Flowers' is an instantly recognisable Bunnymen record which hints persistently and remarkably at their astonishing debut LP from 1980, 'Crocodiles', with its chiming guitars, psychedelic flashes, melodic hooks and plenty of Will Sergeant 'weirdness'. As of old, it's driven by a powerful drum sound and looping bass lines underpinning Ian McCulloch's self-styled crooning and impassioned vocals.
Echo & The Bunnymen also released a four CD retrospective box set in 2001, entitled 'Crystal Days - 1979 - 1999' which featured the rare, the unreleased, the lost and the live over 72 tracks, starting from the original version of 'Monkeys' through to selections from 1999's ‘What Are You Going To Do With Your Life'.
The band have toured extensively throughout the rest of 2001, starting with a sold out U.K. tour in May, followed by shows in Scandinavia at the beginning of June. The Bunnymen then did a sold out North American tour in July, before jetting off to Japan to headline the Red Stage at the Fuji Rock Festival, and finally ending six weeks of touring with six shows in Australia, their first gigs there in nearly 20 years.
August 17th & 18th saw the Bunnymen play two amazing shows in their hometown, Liverpool, at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). The shows were recorded for their first official live Bunnymen album & DVD, both to be released on 4th February 2002 on Cooking Vinyl. The 17 tracks include classics such as ‘Rescue’ ‘Never Stop’, ‘Killing Moon’, ‘The Cutter’ and ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’.
A very successful promotion trip to Brazil at the end of September for Mac saw him perform live on nearly all the top radio & TV stations. The band will hopefully go back to Brazil to play more shows there at the end of February 2002.
Mid October saw the band play in Europe taking in Spain, Germany, Holland and France, before they headed back to North America to co-headline a tour with The Psychedelic Furs.
Tour line-up is: Ian
McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Pete Wilkinson (bass), Vinny Jamieson (drums),
Ceri James (keyboards), Ged Malley (guitar).
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