Enough has been said about this LP's 'greatest album in the world' credentials (a claim made not least by the Bunnymen's own Ian McCullough) - it would have become tedious if it were not so close to the truth. From the opening chords of 'Silver' to the closing crescendo of the title track, this is the Bunnymen's masterpiece. Following their previous records, the band set out to record the 'perfect album', and they delivered - Mac's lyrics are Lear-esque, darkly surreal nonsense, Pete de Freitas learns how to play the drums with brushes, and Will Seargent perfects the art of understated, minimal guitar. In fact, very few tracks are guitar-orientated, the band instead making use of a string section to sublime effect. The combination of lyrics, songwriting, instrumentaion and production give the record a feeling of being completely out of time - it sounds in no way dated today, and I'm sure it will stand the test of time for many more years.
The bonus tracks will be of interest to fans, as they include the 'Life at Brian's' sessions, with substantially reworked versions of 'Stars are Stars' and 'Villiers Terrace' plus a cover of 'All you need is Love' and versions of 'Silver' and 'Killing Moon', although these tracks are all let down by virtue of sounding like they were recorded from the gent's lavvy at Lime Street Station - very flat, disappointing recording quality.
'Angels and Devils' is a B-side from the 'Silver' single, and seems to sit rather uneasily tacked on the end of the original album. Still nice to see it included though...
Two live songs (from 'A Crystal Day' in Liverpool) close this remastered package - a blistering, energetic 'My Kingdom' and 'Ocean Rain', which misses the lush string orchestration of the studio version.
I can't urge you enough to buy this album.
They were never this good again.