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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Holy Ghosts (Orchestral Reworks from Union Chapel / Pro Patria Mori)
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£8.60+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 18 April 2013
So I missed out on the whole PledgeMusic thing and didn't purchase "Pro Patria Mori" or "Live at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral" via that arrangement. I'm not terribly upset as this "Holy Ghost" two disc serves nicely to give me the studio "Pro Patria Mori" disc AND an altogether different live performance on the second disc named "Orchestral Reworks from The Union Chapel". It's this live CD that's caused some confusion and had left me wondering if it was the same show with an alternate track list, edited time(s), etc. It is, in fact, not the same. "Orchestral Reworks" times in at 59.5 minutes w/15 tracks while "Liverpool Anglican Cathedral" runs 80 minutes with 19 tracks. They are both great in their own right. I prefer the "...Reworks" track listing but favor the more lively setting (clearly audible) within "...Liverpool". Just to be perfectly clear, if it wasn't obvious already, I bought both and couldn't be happier. Nice job Mr. McCulloch and please do come back to Chicago sometime very soon (I'm still suffering from the March 2012 postponed/cancelled show).
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on 17 April 2013
A real treasure and highlight of my collection. Love the combination of classic McCulloch and new studio recordings although it's CD 1 (orchestral reworks) that will see the most spins for me.

CD 1 is a relative best of Echo and the Bunnymen with chilling new versions of highlight tracks like Rescue, Nothing lasts Forever, Killing Moon and Bring On The Dancing sti Horses stripped back to an acoustic with Mac's voice shining with every track bolstered by new string arrangements. I prefer a lot of these to the originals and is worth the mere 10 quid price alone!

CD 2 is his new studio album Pro Patria Mori which is good, but not mind blowing. Best of his solo works by a mile but not a patch on the orchestral reworks but the title track, somewhere in my dreams and most definitely Watch Me Land sizing up well in McCulloch's songbook.

It's a great price for a well put together 2CD collection which features all the lyrics from Pro Patria Mori and offers something really compelling for fans and newcomers to Bunnymen's music. I must buy
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on 13 March 2014
I am a long time follower of both Echo & the Bunnymen and Mac's solo work but certainly don't fall into the sycophant bracket.
I find very little to like on either of these albums.
Pro Patria Mori seems a weak (even half-hearted) effort, the songs sound like rehashed versions of songs from The Fountain or Sliding (both of which I liked). I found the lyrics to be simplistic to the point of being childish, especially evident in Me & David Bowie and the cringeworthy opener Different Trees.

I have to admit I was never a fan of live albums and the Union Chapel recordings do nothing to win me over. Mac's voice sounds brittle and lifeless, the re-workings do not improve the original recordings. No revelatory moments here for me, sorry Mac.
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on 11 June 2014
This is one of my favorite CD's at the moment. Loved the stunning version of Bring On the Dancing Horses. I saw Echo & The Bunnymen live at The Troxy recently. Ian McCulloch was just brilliant. They have still gorrit! Buy this CD! X
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on 19 April 2013
What we have here are two albums which in a way represent where McCulloch, as a person stands today, reflective and full of remorse. The first, Holy Ghosts is a live recording of the Union Chapel gig he did with a string quartet and the second, his fourth solo album "Pro Patria Mori'.

Mac is a man plagued by his own demons seeking retribution. He asks no forgiveness, but has a tendency to blame the world for his own mistakes. The wisdom of age at least has tempered his ego and led him to realize that he is the master and commander of his own destiny and the victim of his own doing.

I still blame the sycophants that Mac and the "Crucial Three" comfortably and willingly surrounded themselves. One by one we have seen these icons fall and left to the vultures. Mac is the last of them. The truth is, although there were glimpses of pure genius, none of them were really that good, not really. Mac represented a time of the "Long Overcoat" a dim and distant memory now but a time when the "Planets Aligned" and provide us with a savior, an antidote to the gluttony and superficial music scene of the time.

Holy Ghosts captures one of those rare moment s when magic happens at a gig. The songs are delivered with gut wrenching sincerity, so much so that you can almost see his heart bleed as he offers it to you on a platter like some modern day messiah. A wondrous thing to behold, it was if an incarnation of "Echo" himself was present. A very spiritual experience that reduced many of those who were there spellbound and moved to tears.

Assisted by Ian Broudie (Lightning Seeds), Mac's vocals seemed less strained and much clearer without the restrictions of a full band. The songs are somehow freed and the stripped-down acoustic nuggets make Mac sound like an Indie Folk Singer.
The musicianship is impressive and tainted with as you would expect, melancholia as they gather momentum rising and falling like rollercoaster. They capture the essence of a "Post Apocalyptic" world with dark malevolent forces at play. The harmonising of the string quartet against Mac's angst yet tender voice works to perfection. A very powerful and heart rendering performance that would indeed incarnate any Holy Ghosts present.

Mac would have you believe this is how the songs should have sounded. But I do not believe this to be the case, it is only now with a sense of maturity that these songs can be re-worked in to wonderful psalms against the backdrop of an ethereal setting. The ambience is just too good to be true as each note resonates and memorises the listener into a hypnotic trance. I was at this show and have to say there was a certain kind of hush as jaws dropped to what we realised was a truly magical and enchanting experience.

This CD although a little polished captures that night very well.
Pro Patria Mori on the other hand, consists of ten new solo tracks that to be honest sound like a collection of leftovers from the Fountain or Slidling. The songs are less than mediocre and the lyrics are lazy. In places they are over endearing like a child's attempt a writing a Nursery Rhyme. Gone is the hybrid and cryptic imagery that made him so dame good in the first place.

The songs are soft and tender with a disturbing underbelly throughout. Here we find Mac asking yet more questions rather than providing the answers. The songs try to be optimistic and follow Mac's tradition road of heartache and self reflection but this time he is fully exposed wearing his heart on his sleeve for all to see. There is no question about the depth and meaning of these songs but they came across awkward and in places just plain unfinished, half etched doodles that he just wanted to get out of his system.

The melodies are pleasant but don't really grab your attention and suck you in. Collectively they sound like uninspired lullaby's. If played in isolation however they are actually quite powerful if not beautiful but played side by side they lose their potency and the whole thing becomes mundane and boring. All bite but no teeth, I guess there are only so many times you can use collective words and phrases to go over old ground yet at the same time trying to be original.

Perhaps I'm the fool hanging on to the remnants of my past youth by looking towards my heroes for guidance or a simple reminder of what was. The passing of time can do strange things to one's memory and former glory. Perhaps we should leave it where it belongs; it just might be the case that it was never really that good in the first place. More than three decades on I guess it's wrong of me to expect Mac to produce the same enthusiastic and inspiring energy rush he seemingly and easily touted. I mean just how many times the wheel can be invented.

Back to I Pro Patria Mori it's just another CD that will probably never be played again, I want to but there is nothing telling me to. That said, these new songs blend effortlessly in to the "live" reworking of the classics we all love.
Why did I buy It? well that what us Bunny men Nerds do you know. It's difficult to see exactly where in the market this CD is aimed. Hell, let us not forget this is a business that needs to see a return not just an avenue to exorcise your artistic aspirations.

To truly appreciate these songs or indeed Mac you need to see him live in a small intermit venue, only then will you understand his captivating power and premise.

As some once said

"The anticipation of Pro Patria Mori is like an awkward blind date it makes you giddy. You look forward to it, a bit nervous perhaps.

You get yourself ready and then he's late, very late with no phone call or notice.
By the time he shows up you're annoyed and a little beyond caring. Does he finally try to make a good impression?

Not so much. The time passes pleasantly enough. You almost start to forgive him for being so self-centred.

You think you might be interested in giving it another go. Maybe you do but again, there is nothing really memorable about it.

He spends a lot of time yammering on about something but you're not sure what. You like the sound of his voice but can't be bothered to listen to what he's saying.

Then you come to realize you don't want to waste too much on this when there is probably someone far more compatible out there somewhere else".
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on 18 May 2013
If you are Echo and the bunnymen and enjoyed previous solo albums from Ian, you'll notice something is missing here.
Go and listen Candleland, instead!
Still, the new arrangements for old songs are ok!
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on 9 May 2013
A fine double header from Ian McCulloch. Pro Patria Mori is a solid solo album but the real star for me are the pared down Union Chapel tracks, having recently seen Ian in acoustic mode this album is a real gem
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on 9 August 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed the orchestral rewordings of classic tunes on disc 1. Disc 2 of original songs is good, but is probably not Ian McCullochs best album. Worth having for Disc 1 alone.
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on 7 January 2015
Ian McCulloch at his emotional, tortured, heart-breaking best. For me he can do no wrong, so this review is heavily biased!
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on 12 September 2013
I played this a few days ago I have lots of Liverpool music black cilla black cast coral china chrises Christians billy fury Gerry and the pacemakers billy j Kramer Frankie goes to Hollywood all the beatles cd`s George Harrison paul McCartney john lennon ringo starr and the real thing
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