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on 21 July 2016
Blue. It's the colour that permeates this album. From the striking cover photo, which is drenched in it, to singer Ian McCulloch's metaphorical lyrics, where the colour is used to paint vivid pictures of poetical feeling. And that's the thing about this record: it's the Bunnymen's attempt to express something more than the literal & the mundane; to move the listener through a combination of a poetic language & and richly romantic music; and create something epic, moving & timeless. This they did & how! The warmth of the sound was achieved through the addition of strings - recorded in Paris - Washburn acoustic guitars & drummer Pete de Freitas' use of brushes & cymbals. In fact, McCulloch was so impressed by the finished record that, upon its release in 1984, he confidently declared it 'the greatest album ever made.' A foolish statement that left him open to ridicule. But, is it not possible that it MIGHT be the greatest album ever made? Could one seriously make that claim? We-ll, I'm afraid I can't be objective about the things I love & I do LOVE this record & here are nine reasons why:-

1. Silver - "...You're living proof of my fingertips..." McCulloch seems to be revelling in freedom & sensation, in what is an optimistic song, featuring urgent strings & washes of acoustic guitar. It was the lowest charting of the three singles.
2. Nocturnal Me - "...Ignite our dreams of starry skies..." An ode to the night? Whatever, it is a song full of surreal & dreamy imagery & must be taken in internally.
3. Crystal Days - "...Looking for hope & you hope it's me..." The shortest track on the album, it has a lovely chiming guitar but what's it about? Is it a song of optimism & hope for the future, or is it a paean to the thrill of a cocaine high?
4. The Yo Yo Man - "...You know when heaven & hell collide there are no in-betweens..." McCulloch seems to be channelling the romantic spirit of the great poets, who sought the sublime through exposure to extreme landscapes & weather. At least, that's my interpretation of a song that's difficult to pin down.
5. Thorn Of Crowns - "...I've decided to wear my thorn of crowns..." McCulloch as a martyr? Surely not! As well as a Jesus complex & stuttered lyrics about cucumbers, cauliflowers & cabbages, he yelps & cries through much of the song which has a spiky edge to it.
6. The Killing Moon - "...Fate, up against your will..." A song about love, God & pre-destiny & so achingly beautiful & romantic, that it often makes my heart swell when listening to it. It is, almost certainly, the Bunnymen's finest recording, yet it only just scraped into the top ten on its release. A huge injustice, as I think it deserved to be a massive hit! I love its Eastern vibe; its chiming guitars; and McCulloch's passionate vocal performance. He used to claim, in his usual understated manner, that it was 'the best song ever written.' I certainly think it's a contender.
7. Seven Seas - "...Stab a sorry heart with your favourite finger..." A beautiful opening line to another wonderful single! I think it's about shrugging off sadness & self-pity & embracing the freedom & adventure that life - or the 'Seven Seas, if you will - can offer us. It also boasts a fantastic guitar intro.
8. My Kingdom - "...You kill when you talk & the enemy weakens..." This song has always sounded slightly different from the rest of the album to my ears & I think it's because it is song about anger & conflict. It still boasts a fine tune, though.
9. Ocean Rain - "...All at sea again..." The title track begins quietly with the lugubrious sound of a cello & McCulloch's soft delivery of his metaphorical lyrics, then it slowly builds to become an acoustic guitar drenched, string laden, romantic masterpiece of epic proportions. When McCulloch's voice rises in pitch to cry out... "Screaming from beneath the waves!" ...I feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise, my heart leap in my chest & my spirit soar! That is what truly beautiful music can do!

This re-mastered, 25th anniversary CD, also boasts a bonus track; 'Angels & Devils,' which is a fine song, plus 'The Life At Brian's' sessions, which includes a cover of the Beatles, 'All You Need Is Love.' Also, there are two live versions of songs from the album: 'My Kingdom' & an excellent 'Ocean Rain,' but these are mere fripperies to the album itself. And to return to the earlier question: could it be the greatest album ever made? Yes!.. I believe it could & if that's not enough of a recommendation, might I suggest you ask Ian McCulloch?..
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on 9 March 2017
Classic 80s album with additional live tracks. Good stuff.
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on 24 January 2016
Fast post to AU. Item in excellent order. Thank you.
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I nearly didn't buy this. I already own the shorter so-called 25th anniversary edition (anniversary of the band, not the record, I take it?). This new one looked to me like a cash-in - and it probably still is. But something compelled me, maybe sixth sense.

Now, I don't like to harp on about mastering (boring!), nevertheless I'm going to talk about...mastering. The vinyl release of "Ocean Rain" was not a loud enough pressing. The subsequent CD, perhaps surprisingly, was still too quiet and even more surprisingly so was the aforementioned "25th anniversary" edition. The sound quality was never bad enough to spoil the music of course, just slightly puzzling given the semi-classical feel of the album and the many quiet passages. Miraculously, on this edition, that problem has at last been rectified. The sound is amazing. So good in fact that I noticed bits on the record I've never noticed before and this is a record I know inside out, back to front, all the way round. Sorry, had to get that one off my chest. Anyway this is why this edition of Ocean Rain was worth the price of admission (shop around though - you'll get it for less than a tenner, maybe not now, but in the post-Christmas sales almost certainly).

Moving on to the music, well this is really a five star LP, no doubt about that. One of the greatest LPs of all time etc but it's easy to understand why a fan might not feel it's a worthwhile edition to his collection. However anyone new to the Bunnymen would do well to start here: you get their best LP plus the live disc gives you the full flavour of what the band sounded like pre-Ocean Rain - bearing in mind that O.R. broke the mould and was not really a typical Bunnymen LP sound-wise. (Note: this release most assuredly IS a 2 disc collection - at time of writing Amazon's tracklisting makes no mention of the bonus disc.)

Call me superficial, but it's also the best packaged of any of the previous editions, even the original vinyl edition. In these days of MP3s it's still nice to have a proper sleeve.

That's the last time I'll talk about mastering.

May the cool refrain of ocean rain echo off your head for many years to come.
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on 14 April 2009
Ok, it's been released/remastered before and this version, whilst adding the extended 12" versions of Silver and The Killing Moon and a whole live CD from the Albert Hall on 19th July 1983, lacks the "Life At Brian's" E.P. tracks and the two Crystal Days live tracks from '84.

So why buy? Simple answer is that live CD. It WAS the greatest gig ever. There was a long period of gestation for what was to become the "Ocean Rain" album. In June '83, nearly a year before the album's eventual relaease, the Bunnymen unveiled Silver, Seven Seas and The Killing Moon on a Radio 1 John Peel Session. This whetted the appetite even more for the upcoming tour. The Bunnymen had been touring pretty solidly since December '82 and were at the very peak of their live form - tight, octane fuelled, McCulloch full of passion and fire, Sergeant jangling, jarring snapping and sniping on guitar, Pattinson a fluid rhythmic presence on bass and behind it all Pete de Freitas, the greatest drummer.

I can't remember what the weather outside was like that night, only that inside the Albert Hall, in the back row of the balcony, it was hotter than hell. It's hard to believe, listening to the raw energy of this gig, that most of the audience downstairs remained seated for most of the show; every attempt at dancing being suppressed by over zealous security. After "Never Stop" McCulloch says "You can stand up again if you want...no one's holier than thou." The bouncer baiting continued, the atmosphere built and built until by the time Crocodiles and the encores arrived the Albert Hall was shaking and heaving to the Bunnybeat.

McCulloch out of tune? Maybe now and the end, but only for a moment and no way does this make it unlistenable! At the end of the long slow first part of Porcupine, McCulloch alters the lyrics to croon/wail "There are no comparisons with Echo And The Bunnymen". There weren't, there never will be.

Do yourself a favour; buy this (and the Crystal Days boxset if you want to complete the gig by adding the two encores of Heroin and Do It Clean), turn the lights down, turn the heating up, put on a pair of vintage Italian Army parachute trousers (with knee pads and ankle zips) and dance your socks off.
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on 16 June 2014
This is the June 2014 reissue vinyl from Vinyl 180.

Arrived warped in transit from Amazon Logistics must have had a hell of a journey!

The cover is made of the thinnest card imaginable, .35mm, thinner than a ready meal box, thanks Vinyl 180! The RSD Vinyl 180 release of Crocodiles had a decent thick card cover but this is a joke. Shredded Wheat box card is thicker at .4mm!!

I expect more for my money than this 'quality' Vinyl 180, who made this release under license from Warners.

Vinyl itself made of Silver vinyl is however OK and flat. Pressing fault at start of Ocean Rain track audible click each revolution. (OK on replacement).

Inner sleeve has a pronounced record shaped mark all the way round both sides.

It's going back. I've waited so long for this delayed release. Disappointed.

Today received the replacement this time c/o Royal Mail. This one bent over too on bottom right corner! Seems no carrier can manage not to damage in transit. The thinner than a Shredded Wheat box cover doesn't help. Amazons frustration free cardboard outer doesn't stand any rough handling either as evidenced by both copies received having the same type of across the corner bend/crease running 4" where the edge of the vinyl is. Geez what am I supposed to do, keep sending it back?
Hooray!
Sent it back and third time lucky, delivered by Amazon Logistics today and nothing is bent in transit. Will probably stick with CD's from now on, vinyl is too problematical to bother with.this and other releases more than 50% are duds or damaged.
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on 20 July 2007
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.
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VINE VOICEon 2 August 2008
"We wanted to make something conceptual with lush orchestration , not Mantovani , something with a twist". So said Echo & The Bunnymens guitarist Will Sergeant about their fourth album 1984,s brilliant Ocean Rain. I,d say they succeeded spectacularly well for Ocean Rain does indeed have lush orchestration, courtesy of a 35 piece orchestra ,and it,s definitely not Mantovani . Indeed it,s one of the great albums of the much maligned 1980,s a salty tanged windswept classic.
Recorded in such diverse locations as Paris, Bath and the bands hometown Liverpool it,s clear just from looking at the albums beautiful deep blue cover ( designed by Martyn Atkins) that this is an unashamed opulent production. As well as the spectacular sweeping string arrangements there are the bands usual chiming guitars and furrowed brow bass lines while singer Ian McCulloch while pillorying stadium embracing dullards like Bono and Jim Kerr seems to be making his own bid for mega-stardom with a series of epic vocal performances and some quasi-mystical vocal imagery.
The band produced the album along with Gil Norton and Henri Lonstan and i always thought Ocean Rain sounded just fine as it was but re-mastered it seems to explode from the speakers in a glorious swooping riot of vertiginous melody and admirable portentousness. Helped it must be said in no small measure by tremendous songs.
As well as the jaw droppingly gloomy hit single "The Killing Moon" -the indie equivalent of Led Zeppelins "Kashmir" i feel- there are the other two singles released off the album - the rather more upbeat "Silver" , a song indeed that verges on the ecstatic with it,s pirouetting strings , and the rustic shanty like called "Seven Seas" aptly enough. Thematically it,s nothing if not varied with the funereal "Nocturnal Me" leading into the jaunty lightweight "Crystal Days" ."Yo Yo Man " and "Thorn of Crowns" are the weakest songs on the album i feel, though still more than acceptable but this leads into the stunning side two of the vinyl version. "The Killing Moon"& "Seven Seas" are followed by the mid-tempo squally "My Kingdom" which again showcases McCulloch,s curious predilection for hiccupping his vocals ( see also "Crystal Days" and "Silver" with it,s "t, t, t, t, tips" line) Last is the awesome title track which is my favourite off the album. A desperately forlorn ballad with a wonderfully tender McCulloch vocal Ocean Rain creaks with the emotional weight of it,s nautical imagery. "All at sea again " , "Your port in a heavy storm harbours the blackest thorns".
I feel the extra tracks on this re-mastered CD sound awfully incongruous coming after the heavy and very final note of the title track so i would advise listening to them separately though this is , of course, up to the individual listener. The live versions are fine with the tile track again standing out and "Angels And Devils" -the b side to "Silver" is also passable but i do draw the line at the live cover of "All You Need is Love".
Ian McCulloch with typical lippyness called Ocean Rain the"greatest album of all time" and while no one would , i feel, agree with this i assume tongue in cheek assessment it is a great album, certainly the best Echo & The Bunnymen ever produced.Ocean Rain has a sweep and grandeur rarely matched in popular music. A delight to listen to - it thrills from the end of your toes to the tingling extremities of your finger t, t, t, t, tips.
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on 28 February 2010
Quite simply; one of the best albums of the '80's and, I would argue, one of the 20 albums you must own. A soaring, inspiring piece of work that needs to be listened to in its entirety (I've owned the vinyl album since it came out and can't speak for the various repackages that have taken place since).

Of course, there will Bunnymen fans who will tell you that this wasn't their crowning glory - aren't there always fans who do that? - but there was a reason that the band perfomed this in its entirety with full orchestra on its 25th Anniversary and that is because they know that this was not only a defining moment in their career, but also that of a whole genre of '80's music. But don't let that decades reference point lure you into thinking this is some avant-garde higly produced electro-pop. No, here are gorgeous melodies and lush arrangements punctuated by that spikey edginess that the Bunnymen - to this day massively underrated - had in spades.

That edginess prevents this album from straying into that hideous area of orchestra and group 'classical' thing that so many bands of the '60's fell into, taking you instead into a echoing (sic) ethereal chamber where - paricularly on the haunting 'Thorn of Crowns' - the lyrical and musical twists leave you dizzy and unprepared for what is going to happen next. On other tracks, such as the searing opus that is 'The Killing Moon', the feel is more expansive and windswept leaving you transported by the whole until the gorgeous closing of the title track leaves you breathless and wanting more (I notice some reviewers here say the album opens with 'Killing Moon' but on vinyl its the first track on side two ending with 'Ocean Rain').

Some may find this album dark and conceptual when viewed alongside its contemporaries but is is extremely accessible, beautiful and very moving. You should own it!
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on 17 August 2005
so different to the youthful, rocking crocodiles and porcupine, but beautiful in its own unique way. the imagery of skies, seas and ships is so powerful and pagan, it's like a dream and mc culloch sounds sexier than ever. includes the lovely killing moon, but its the final track, ocean rain that'll give you the shivers...reminds me of rain lashing the windoes at night--dark and romantic.
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