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Echo And The Bunnymen
Cooking Vinyl USA

Classic. That's the word that fits this new Echo And The Bunnymen release best. Classic and intimately familiar. Gone are the heavy overtones left over from the Electrafixion days, making way for the crisp, clean pop of the Bunnymen of yore. Siberia is proof positive that not only have Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant been a very formative influence in many band's lives, but that the old guys can rock just as hard as their protégés. This record is filled with tracks that blur the lines that separate tunes like "The Cutter" from the modern day.

"Stormy Weather" starts the album off with a throbbing anthemic drive sitting tightly underneath Sergeant's trademark jangling guitars. This track alone would dispel any thoughts that the Bunnymen had somehow lost a bit of their shine. "All Because Of You Days" shows just how much McCulloch and Sergeant can still craft songs that are dynamic and powerful, while remaining well within their own unique sound. Eerily similar to the greatest of all Bunnymen songs ("Bring On The Dancing Horses"), "Parthenon Drive" contains the same jangling guitars, lazily driving rhythm, and strong vocal melodies, but offsets the easy feeling with a more deliberate chorus - one filled with hints of distortion and drive, culminating in a few seconds of aural mayhem in the bridge.

By the time the string section kicks in on "Everything Kills You" it is hard to not have a sense of the age behind the songwriting of McCulloch. There are songs on Siberia that deal with regret and loss, the songwriter's show of maturity in some ways. These songs are not laments for lost opportunities, however. They are merely moments of introspection on how those pieces of learning have affected the lives involved. There is a particular sadness to many of these songs. But it is not a tearful sadness, but more a rainy-day-staring-out-the-window-and-daydreaming-about-what-might-have-been kind of sadness. Nowhere is this dual-sided regret shown more solemnly than on closing track "What If We Are?". One of the most simplistically beautiful tracks on the record, the instrumentation is mostly piano over strings with occasional percussion and guitar that fleshes out the hopeful chorus and leads to the fuzzy guitar solo that reassures us all that things will be all right in the end.

Shout it from the mountaintops, my friends… Echo And The Bunnymen have never been better than they are right at this very moment. This is a band at the top of its game, having weathered various storms throughout the years and coming out stronger and more assured in the end. Long may they rock!

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Stormy Weather
2. All Because Of You Days
3. Parthenon Drive
4. In The Margins
5. Of A Life
6. Make Us Blind
7. Everything Kills You
8. Siberia
9. Sideways Eight
10. Scissors In The Sand
11. What If We Are

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