Friday, 16 January 2009

Crocodiles – Echo and the Bunnymen



Album Review - Rolling Stone Magazine - 16 April 1981

‘Surely you mean Ocean Rain’ I hear some of you say! Regarded by many as the classic Bunnymen album, but not for me, I never really liked it. There’s one or two good songs on it but for me it’s not the complete package.

‘Crocodiles’ on the other hand has everything! I listened to the album today whilst walking to work and again on the way home. The songs are as fresh as they were back in ‘81, they haven’t lost any of their edginess.

I suppose one reason why I prefer ‘Crocodiles’ to ‘Ocean Rain’, and this applies to a lot of bands, is that bands can move from new, fresh innovative sounds of there first recordings into a horrible MOR mainstream sounds pretty quickly. The sound on ‘Crocodiles’ is the sound that the band wanted when they started out as young musicians. The sound which attracted a following and eventual recording contract. An exciting sound! Once a band has an established career then they develop their sound and head in different directions, sometimes, as with Ocean Rain, in a direction that I don’t wish to follow. Good examples of bands who have fallen into this trap are REM, all that awful pushing of elephants up the stairs etc and my personal pet hate, The Killers! ‘Ocean Rain’ moved too far away from what I liked about Echo & The Bunnymen, ironically to the sound that they are best known for!

Reading back on this it sounds like I think that ‘Ocean Rain’ is dull MOR shit, which of course it isn’t , it just doesn’t have enough of what I like!!


Stand out songs are;

‘Crocodiles’ - first heard this when watching a televised concert in Liverpool, Crystal Day (see youtube clip below). Loved the way the band would bring the sound down whilst Ian McCulloch did his ’do you know how to dance like Bony Maloney, It goes like this, It goes like this, it goes like this, it goes like this!!!!’ the band building up until exploding into a guitar frenzy!! Goose bump time for me!!!

‘Rescue’ – Should have been number one in the hit parade, proper good song.

‘All That Jazz’ and ‘Villiers Terrace’ although this is not my favourite version, there’s a far better acoustic version on the B side of ‘Seven Seas’. (see youtube clip below.


I’ve seen Echo & The Bunnymen play many times over the years. Stand out performance for me was Glastonbury 1985 when they performed a set of covers. Television’s ‘Friction’, The Doors ‘Soul Kitchen’, The Velvet Underground’s ‘There She Goes Again’ and Dylan;s ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ to name but a few.

I also attended that final Echo & The Bunnymen gig (Liverpool Empire 1988) before Ian McCulloch left the band. This was a great gig and made even better for the fact that they played nearly all of ‘Heaven Up Here’!

Links - Great discography, has the lot

Echo & The Bunnymen - Official Site

Rescue – Live in Sefton Park 1982

Crocodiles – Crystal Days – St Georges Hall

Villiers Terrace - Broadcast on 25/09/1984 as part of Channel 4's Play At Home series.

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