Review Summary: The highwater mark of the reformation era.
It's fair to say that the reformation era of Echo & the Bunnymen has been a rocky one. Albums like What Are You Going To Do With Your Life and Flowers offered occasional moments to help buoy the fans while the ship went down. Albums like The Fountain on the other hand have been more akin to the iceberg that smashed into it. Echo & the Bunnymen are now a faint shadow of their former selves. Despair all ye who enter here. There is no hope for glory or return.
Except for Siberia. That album rocks.
So yeah. Without question, Siberia is far and away the best LP the Bunnymen have put out since reforming. It's not original, unique or even particularly inventive. It's simply a case of "Echo & the Bunnymen play you the hits". But boy does it scratch an itch that needed to be scratched.
Like a kid with twitching fingers over a Christmas stocking, it's hard to know what to go for first. Let's start with the ballads. Echo & the Bunnymen have always been able to spin a good ballad. Think of 'Nothing Lasts Forever' or 'Rust' as brilliant past examples. Here on Siberia they present three pristine variations of the formula. All of them are fantastic. 'All Because Of You Days' sounds like it should have been on Ocean Rain. Moreover, it would have likely been a highlight on it too. 'In the Margins' is full of mournful e-bow and epic refrains, whilst 'Everything Kills You' combines more beautiful e-bow work with a toweringly anthemic chorus. It's all stunning work from the Bunnymen.
The faster material is also mecifully on point. 'Parthenon Drive' for example, takes the overall sound from their Evergreen album and turns up the ferocity and volume to great effect. Will Sergeant's guitars dance all over these energetic tracks like a deranged balerina. His stuttergun guitar licks on title track 'Siberia' is another excellent addition. Best of all is the album's highlight 'Scissors In The Sand'. A thunderous, smoke-belching rock song, 'Scissors In The Sand' takes it's place as the heaviest and most strident song the band ever recorded. It's an amazing moment from a fantastic record.
Even the weaker tracks like 'Make Us Blind' or 'Sideways Eight' have enough pace, bounce and energy to be enjoyable. The occasional cracks get swept up and papered over by the good will and momentum of everything else on offer. This leaves Siberia as a minor but near perfect addition to Echo & the Bunnymen's discography. So I'll whisper those ubiquitous words quitely now in this dark corner we're both cowering in. Return. To. Form.