Review Summary: The band's long awaited post-punk revival.
Meteorites represents yet another change in tact for Echo & the Bunnymen. The prior Siberia and The Fountain were the first of the band's records not to move in a new direction, instead choosing to rely on their established formula. Siberia proved to be a thunderous look back at the band's hits, capitalising on the highs while skipping the lows. The Fountain, on the other hand, tried exactly the same thing but failed spectacularly in every conceivable way. It was time again to move on and Echo & the Bunnymen duly obliged.
Meteorites thus unexpectedly shifts the Bunnymen's gears into shoegaze territory. Every track on this LP is soaked in layers upon layers of reverb. This gives the record a unique vibe among their work. The closest album in tone would probably be 1981's Heaven Up Here. That in turn means this album is also a long overdue return to the post-punk roots of the band.
Which is exactly what it is, albeit with the shoegaze elements dragged in tow. Temper your expectations though, because Meteorites isn't as good as Heaven Up Here or Porcupine or any of the Bunnymen's output from the 1980s. It does at least try to recapture that greatness, however, and there is still much to enjoy.
Highlights include the bass grooving 'Is This A Breakdown', the eastern riffing on 'Constantinople' and the easy balladry of 'Burn It Down'. But the album's best moment comes in the form of the exquisite 'Explosions'. The track's cascading guitars, desperate vocals and soaring melodies all combine to make a minor Echo & the Bunnymen classic.
Meteorites isn't perfect, though. The main complaint is that some of the songs are very similar in tone and melody. Similar enough to get them jumbled up in your brain. But this is also an album where the whole is much more than the sum of it's parts. It's that groovy, shoegaze atmosphere that ultimately wins the day here. Which is exactly why I've glossed over the majority of the details on this record. Everything gets swept up into the overall package and delivered as a single, cohesive vision.
Sure, you could pick holes in the individual songs for days if you wanted, but that's really not the point. The point is to sit back, relax and let a universe of reverb heavy melody and sadness soothe your tired bones. If you can't get behind that idea, I just don't know what to tell you. Except that this record (and the genre of shoegaze as a whole) just isn't for you. If that type of thing sounds like your cup of tea, however, you'll likely be satisfied by this celestial body.