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Album review: Echo & The Bunnymen - Meteorites

09:00 07 June 2014

Echo & The Bunnymen - Meteorites

Echo & The Bunnymen - Meteorites

Archant

Veteran big cheese of the gloomy indie world goes epic and honest in this return to form.

Back with fellow original band member Will Sergeant on guitar and legendary producer Youth overseeing this twelfth bite of the apple – their first studio album in five years – Ian McCulloch has described Meteorites as “more edgy than anything I’ve ever done”.

But rather than the weighty musical intensity of Killing Moon, the edginess is more to do with McCulloch addressing head-on demons he has invariably shied away from in the past.

The title track switches from epic, uplifting and string-laden choruses to baleful verses where McCulloch is “looking for hope in me amongst the ghosts in me”, and the spectre of death and disaster rarely leaves.

“Is this a breakdown?” he asks on the forlorn track of the same name – but all he can say is “I don’t know”.

There’s a sometimes stately grandeur to the music that’s only occasionally exhilarating – but the string work is well-judged and Sergeant’s guitar shimmers evocatively.

Lead single Lovers On The Run glides along on a multi-layered set of McCulloch’s velvety vocals, strings and tantalising sprinkle of Spanish guitar; as good as some of their best work from the early ‘80s.

Elsewhere swirling vocals dress the gloaming Constantinople, God is implored to “hear my prayer” (Holy Moses) and chipper, jangly guitar jarrs with McCulloch’s warning that “no survivors will be found” in the pounding Market Town.

They might not reach their previous highs, but this is easily their best, most consistent record since their 1997 reformation.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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