Review Summary: When the promised hurricane never arrives.
The twisted tree smashed the roof of the cave and stood tall. It loomed over everyone, casting shadows in all directions. We trembled in the shade, sea salt stinging our eyes. We whispered in the dark "Ocean Rain. Ocean Rain." Promises of a hurricane were on the horizon. But it wouldn't come for quite some time yet.
As the hyperbolic praise for Ocean Rain rolled around the landscape like thunder, The Bunnymen abandoned their rowboat and swam in different directions. September Songs were sung, bike rides taken and general idling indulged. Steamrolling momentum was incrementally snuffed a few months at a time. A disillusioned sticksman departed and was replaced by machines and smoke. Upon re-illusion, the missing Bunnyman returned and sessions were restarted, mercifully devoid of any faceless entities.
Ocean Rain also brought with it the jangle of new money. Fat cats who had tasted the cream pushed and pawed. Less sad weather and more sunshine was sought. It's never droll at the top of the mountain far above the clouds. Post-punk was a filthy crow scattering trash over a pristine yard. Synthesizers were mandatory going forward and so, with ruffled plumage, the ravens fled the tower.
The hurricane threatened the land once again. But when the day of reckoning came, eyes dropped and ribs sunk as not a hurricane but a mere storm made landfall. The eponymous Echo and The Bunnymen, often referred to as 'The Grey Album', didn't surpass Ocean Rain. The weather took a disappointing turn and it's notes became footed. History heaped yet another mound of dirt upon another funeral pyre. The buried never really breathe again. But history is always unforgiving to that which crumples in the face of expectation.
There is plenty to enjoy amidst the Grey, however. Twin singles The Game and Lips Like Sugar captured the catchiest elements of the Bunnymen better than ever. They always felt like the greatest megahits the band never had. The keyboards on Lost and Found and album highlight Bombers Bay proved that the New Romantic movement could indeed be tolerable when it was at it's best. Extended guitar solos and the stomping theatrics of New Generation also clambered higher and higher, finally kissing the spider.
Sadly, not everything can make arachnid love. Devoid of any type of rain, Blue Blue Ocean was mid-paced romanticism at it's most forgettable. Likewise the rockier bluster of Satellite and All in your Mind are still hard to recall from memory. Add into that an anodyne, jangly closing track and feelings eventually turn from celebrating misery in the rain to more mundane pursuits. But we all need to stay warm and dry at least some of the time.
Echo and Bunnymen eventually led to death and hollow reverberation. Twisted trees were hacked but not quite felled. The Grey album fell on ears deafened by prior storms and is largely forgotten in these turquoise days. But when immersed in reformation era malaise, the siren's call of Bombers Bay or the watery grace of Lips Like Sugar still sounds like timelessly great pop.