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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 24 July 2004
In the 80s Echo and the Bunnymen released a series of acclaimed albums then split. They got back together in the 90s making three further albums, the last of which is this one, Flowers (released in 2001), the other two being Evergreen (1997) and What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? (1998). There seem to be a variety of views about how good these later albums are. Some people say they are as good as the 80s albums, some say they aren't. I now think this approach is fundamentally flawed.
The problem is that people are starting from the view that the 80s albums were great, so can these albums be as good? My suggestion is, forget the 80s Echo and the Bunnymen; they have little to do with later Echo and the Bunnymen. Instead think Coldplay or Snow Patrol: the more recent Echo and the Bunnymen have a different sound, it doesn't help to listen to these albums with 80s Bunnymen in your head, it would be better to imagine that the Bunnymen now occupy similar musical territory to Coldplay and Snow Patrol and set your expectations in that direction.
I'm not knocking groups like the 80s Bunnymen, the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, they were great and made some fine tunes, but don't buy this CD and start thinking "is this as good as Ocean Rain?" because it just isn't the same. It would be like someone who liked early Beatles picking up Sergeant Pepper and thinking "have we got anything as good as 'Hard Day's Night' on here?" If you are going to buy this CD, expect it to sound more like Coldplay and Snow Patrol than anything from the 80s and you will find it easier to enjoy the music.
Which brings me to the point I really want to make, which is that after listening to the more recent Bunnymen albums I am now of the opinion that they are far superior to the 80s albums, and Flowers is probably the best of them all, although they are all very good. It took me a while to come to this opinion, at first I just couldn't decide if I liked them or not, and it was only when I stopped trying to compare them with the 80s albums and realised they had created a different sound that I could get into them and start to really enjoy the music.
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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2001
This is a fine outing from the bunnymen. The album is high quality from beginning to the end. Although there are no individual tracks that are life changing the overall standard is consistently high. The album appears to have been released with zero marketing amazing as it is the best album they have released since Ocean Rain. Great stuff.
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on 1 August 2001
I'm glad that I sat on posting a review for a few weeks and let this record grow on me. Initially, I thought that it was good but certainly not vintage Bunnies. However, upon a few listenings this latest offering from McCulloch and Sergeant is definitely one of their finest - and stands up well against Crocodiles, Ocean Rain, and Porcupine (but probably not Heaven ...). Great collection of superbly crafted songs, brillantly executed. Just put this alongside U2's latest offering and I think that you'll know (if you have a sane bone in your body) which band has aged more elegantly and creatively. Just give this record a few plays and you'll know exactly what I mean !
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on 22 May 2001
If you've never bought flowers before nows the time. Flowers is the third and without doubt best instalment of the glorious return Of Echo & The Bunnymen, here is the big sister of Ocean Rain, from it's opening track King Of Kings through the gorgeous title track Flowers were Mac flexes his vocal muscles then building to the creshendo that is An Eternity Turns ending with the trademark haunting ballad in this case Burn For Me It's a stroll through the phsycedelic garden in the minds eye of messers Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch the only down point being the wait for the next installment.
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on 22 May 2001
Okay so to expect the raw edged kick of 'Crocodiles' or the dramatic, orchestral beauty of 'Ocean Rain' would be unrealistic after all this time, but 'Flowers' does represent a return to a mood which befits all that is great in Bunnymen tradition. After the somewhat sickening sentimentality of its' predecessor, 1999's 'What Are You Going to do With Your Life', the lyrics on 'Flowers' are of the more subtly mystifying nature that set McCullough apart from so many of his contemporaries during the 80's. An altogether deeper, more powerful sound also exists here, suggesting that Will Sergeant had a far greater input this time around. At least the equal of their eponymous 1987 album and way better than the two since, honour is satisfied and credibility fully restored.
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on 21 April 2007
After the magnificent 'What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?', 'Flowers' is a real let down. It sounds like the weaker sections of 'Evergreen', or like a diet version of 'What Are You Going To Do...'. There are some good moments, though. 'Buried Alive' has a good, nagging riff, whilst 'Hide And Seek' sounds very psychedelic. But nothing can really save this from the 'dust' pile in my CD collection.
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on 12 February 2002
This is an album which perfectly illustrates the pitfalls of reviewing records after one listen. Excited after reading comparisons with "Crocodiles" and "Ocean Rain" I was certainly very disappointed having brought this home, as on first sweep it sounded like a pretty bland soft rock album (and not a little banal). For a die-hard Bunnymen fan like me, this was a real big letdown. I'd certainly placed it right at the bottom of the pile as far as Bunnymen albums go, but I decided to give it another chance a few days later and ended up listening to it a few more times after that, either as background music or when it was already in the CD player and I couldn't be bothered changing it (yes, I am that lazy). After a little while it suddenly dawned on me I loved the songs on this record, and almost without realising it "Flowers" had wormed its way into my very soul. The songs here are mostly soft, understated but beautiful numbers, and Mac is in fine voice throughout. There's still some weak moments here (for instance "Everybody Knows" has pretty duff lyrics, and the opening of "Life Goes On" sounds like the theme from "Friends"), but of the "post-comeback" Bunnymen albums it's both my favourite and the one I've listened to more than any other. The title track and "Buried Alive" in particular stand out as some of the Bunnymen's best material since the 1980s. In summary, this might sound poor on a first listen, but it's a record which really will grow and grow on you. Recommended.
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on 10 April 2015
Brilliant Bunnymen album. Doesn't disappoint. There is a style that runs through the whole piece that is definitely The Bunnymen, but in a different direction. Will Sergeant is a guitar genius and Mac's voice is still sublime
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on 3 June 2001
If you've read other reviews which have compared this to Crocodiles and Ocean Rain, then you're in for a big disappointment. True, the trademark jangling/choppy guitars and Eastern flourishes are back in evidence here, but they can't hide the real problem here - which is the banal, paper-thin, uninspired nature of the songs. That's what killed the last album and it's done for this one as well. One listen is enough to consign this one to bed.
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on 16 May 2001
Bands come and go, and if they do stick around more than a few years, their quality control often goes to rack and ruin. Never so with the Bunnymen. Their style might mutate along the journey, players may come and go, but the end product is always top notch and often truly magical. Ian McCulloch has gone back to basics here - back to the style of the Crocodiles debut album from 21 years ago. Yes, the return of traditional guitar rock but with an extra quality that comes with God given inspiration. Songs that exhibit the quality of an experienced player, equipped with the soul of musical insight. The two previous Bunnymen albums since their re-birth in 1997 went down the route of string drenched melodies that could be interpreted as a band in their twilight years, but there is rockier life in these old dogs yet and this is the sound of a rejuvenated band. Will Sergeant is here too (the only other surviving Bunnymen present from the original line-up), but the duo has admitted three more young pretenders to the fold. What could have been an age clash is replaced with affirmation that true tunes are blessed with no generation gap. A feel of jamming musicians is here, both with a rough edge, and a manicured style too. The Cutter and The Killing Moon are not present, nor are the more recent Rust or sublime Nothing Lasts Forever, but those have been done already. McCulloch may have gone back to his roots, but would never regurgitate what he has done before. With so many new ideas jingling in his mind waiting to be explored, what would be the point of visiting the past? The band has staying power, beautifully portrayed in this album. Echoes maybe of Bunnymen past, but unlike so many current hot shots, these Flowers are well nurtured, fresh, organic and won't wilt.
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