Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rock of Ages: Echo and the Bunnymen - "Crocodiles" (1980)

Hailing from Liverpool, Echo and the Bunnymen had some big shoes to fill for a Liverpudlian band. The Beatles were long done and John Lennon would be murdered later this same year. It's no surprise that the 80's and the post punk rebellion was filled with some darker tones in a lot of music and lord knows Echo and the Bunnymen were a part of this mood. Often times they are compared to Joy Division, but to me something different prevails over the Bunnymen. On their amazing debut, Crocodiles, the band paint waves of sorrowful and melancholy tunes embedded in frantic tones and clean guitars. The titular song is a panicked and jumpy track. The melody is carried on the bass line mroe so than on the main guitar parts, which are jangly and jagged and harsh. The real joy of this song comes in the desperation in the voice of Ian McCulloch. AMidst the kinetic sounds of the music, the desperate and melodic vocals sound even mroe paranoid and energetic.

Echo and the Bunnymen are more well known now for two other songs: The popular UK hit "The Cutter" or the track covered by many bands and appearing in cult hit Donnie Darko, "The Killing Moon." These are both great tracks, but something about "Crocodiles" strikes a different chord. Their first record, although gloomy and melancholy, explodes with sound and catchy hooks, even if they are minor chords. Although the band did not see massive acclaim stateside and never got to the lengths of that other Liverpudlian group, they definitely made their mark on music in the 1980s, one of the strangest decades. Their moody music infused with clean yet abrasive guitars and some amazing movements from the rhythm section makes Echo and the Bunnymen one of my favorite bands from this era.

Up Next: Talking Heads team up with Eno and many more notables to create some of the funkiest tracks ever recorded.... but which song to choose?

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