"....have I hit rock bottom?"
So asks Ian McCulloch on the closing track, What If We Are?, on the band's previous outing, Siberia. On this evidence, at that point, not quite. Now he has. This is simply the worst thing Echo & The Bunnymen have ever recorded, and there have been some pretty dodgy songs in amongst the genius over the years. It's difficult to blame Will Sergeant, as his guitar still chops around in amongst the poppiness, and you certainly cannot blame the other musicians, as they are just doing what they are told. McCulloch, on the other hand, needs to sit down and take a long, hard look at the legacy he is leaving the once-mighty band. His voice is completely shot to pieces, and that is fine to a certain extent, as he is now writing songs that he is capable of singing instead of trying to desperately to hit the notes he once did. What is not fine, is the bland pop he is adding his voice to. The lyrics are mostly meaningless drivel (I'm sure he's just making words up for the sake of rhyming in Do You Know Who I Am?), or there's the odd bit of soppy lovey-dovey rubbish (I detest the stupidity of "I love that sack that you're in, I love your saccharin" in Shroud Of Turin). Perhaps the most relevant lyric comes in the chorus of Proxy, when he sings "Everybody look at us now". To me, it's like a "please can we still be famous" plea, but McCulloch needs to be careful that people don't take him at his word, because all they will see is a sad shadow, clinging on to the last remnants of a glorious past.
Listening to this, it strikes me that the Noel Burke-fronted Reverberation album was far more deserving of the Echo & The Bunnymen moniker than this.
Awful, just awful.