Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Echo And The Bunnymen "Ocean Rain" (1984)

The stirs of emotion flatten as an orchestral expansion does little to spice up what feels like a blander collection of songs in comparison the lively dazzle of "Heaven Up Here" and the crowded sensations of "Porcupine". Their next release "Ocean Rain", is English Post-Punk band Echo And The Bunnymen's fourth album recorded in Paris with the inclusion of an orchestra who are sometimes pushed out of the limelight, under utilized and when brought to the forefront sound like a commodity of the moment, with exception to the opening two tracks that make sombre use of the string sections.

Ive read its their best, so I found myself hyped and excited but now rather underwhelmed and disappointed with a record that does not seem to click for me. The energy of the guitars rattle disappears into the backdrop as the various elements in the composition seem to merge in the records foggy production. With focus and attention one can pick apart the instruments and hear a variety of fruitful melodies emerging from the orchestra. Without such dedication it becomes an unspectacular blur that drifts through the motions and finds many of the songs succumbing to the sound of themselves.

A lack of distinction holds some of these songs back but between its better moments a fair few choruses and ideas lack the fire they had in their music before. "Thorn Of Crowns" descends into an unfiltered stitching of ideas as singer McCulloch stutters and groans his way around a disenchanting guitar tone. This moment and a couple of others soured a record that just didn't seem to find consistency. The inclusion of an orchestra seemed to work fantastically in some moments, lining the tracks with complimenting melodies. In others like "The Yo Yo Man" the guitars and bass drop out for the strings to take over but they punch in with a striking difference of tone. Too often the instruments get muddied the range of sound, a bland and uncharacteristic production lets this record down where it already comes across like a hit and miss of ideas where songs failed to make a lasting impression.

Favorite Tracks: Crystal Days, The Killing Moon
Rating: 5/10

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