Echo and The Bunnymen return with their 12th studio album Meteorites and their first since The Fountain five years ago. In the down time between Bunnymen duties, Ian McCulloch released his acclaimed fourth solo album Pro Patria Mori, and the live album Holy Ghosts both released in 2012. In 2013 Will Sergeant released the instrumental album Your Mind Is a Box (Let Us Fill It with Wonder) with former Bunnymen Bass player Les Pattinson under the guise of Poltergeist.
McCulloch was encouraged by Producer, former Killing Joke Guitarist Youth, and Producer of his last solo record Holy Ghosts to search deep within himself for emotions, resulting in songs about his childhood and relationship with his father. McCulloch said “I wrote from the soul, more so than the heart and brain”.
The songs were originally intended for another Ian McCulloch solo record to follow up Pro Patria Mori, but after hearing some songs from initial sessions Will Sergeant was persuaded to add his inspired guitar parts to the songs and make it a fully blown Echo and The Bunnymen record.
The Bunnymen get off to a slow start with the song “Meteorites”, with its gorgeous strings and McCulloch singing in his rich smoky voice tinged with echo, it soon builds into the huge chorus “Life’s lost soldiers on the march leaving their trenches now”, the production from Youth sounds spacious and epic.
From the epic to the anthemic “Holy Moses”, this track is going to have the fans singing back and punching the air with triumph when the tour reconvenes next month. Will Sergeants guitar part gives a nod to the melody from the track “Me and David Bowie”, from Ian’s last solo album.
Will Sergeant really makes us take notice with his Shimmering eastern guitar work on “Constantinople” it is certainly a highlight, with its driving beat and McCulloch letting us know that it’s so cold there. The poppy sound of “Is This Is a Breakdown” follows into “Grapes Upon The Vine” which deals with Ian’s drinking problem and past rock n roll lifestyle.
The eastern guitar sound returns for another album highlight and first track released from the album “Market Town”, featuring female backing vocals and backwards guitars and funky beat, the song has the most musical changes of all the songs from the album, and is certainly the longest at over 7 minutes long, It is a glorious tune and would sit easily alongside anything off Ocean Rain.
Album closer “New Horizon” finishes with the same pace which started the album, McCulloch reflects on his upbringing and how it has affected him in ways he hadn’t realised before.
Meteorites is a cracking and thoroughly enjoyable return to form after the patchy The Fountain.
The Production is first rate and Sergeant’s guitar parts over McCulloch’s songs are compelling and reveal more textures with each listen. The Bunnymen have toured their classic albums Ocean Rain, Crocodiles, and Heaven up Here in the past and rightfully so. Hopefully they will do the same with Meteorites in the future it’s that good.