Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Echoes of the Past on Bunnyman's CD; Ian McCulloch, of Echo and the Bunnymen, in Newcastle Next Week, Opens Up to What's On

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Echoes of the Past on Bunnyman's CD; Ian McCulloch, of Echo and the Bunnymen, in Newcastle Next Week, Opens Up to What's On

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian McCulloch

A YEAR ago, Ian McCulloch found himself in a dark place.

After leading Echo & The Bunnymen through 35 years of epic highs and turbulent lows, the singer realised it was time to take a break and look inwards.

Although the group's last album, 2009's The Fountain, had been enthusiastically received, McCulloch's songwriting partnership with Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant had virtually ground to a halt.

What's more, years of rock excess and running away from personal problems had left him feeling adrift and unsettled. "I wasn't happy with a lot of stuff," admits the singer, who is at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle on Tuesday with the Bunnymen. "Emotionally I was at a very low ebb." Yet from this slough of despond, Meteorites unexpectedly began to take shape. Holed up in his Liverpool flat, mired in self-reflection, McCulloch started writing music on a bass guitar that was lying around, a process that instantly proved cathartic and fruitful.

"Straight away I felt better for it," he explains. "I had been thinking of taking five years off on an island, or whatever, but suddenly all these songs came from nowhere. It was really exciting and fresh. This record's about my personal journey, my rebirth, even if it is a Bunnymen record."

Meteorites, the group's 12th studio album, released on May 26 on 429 Records/Caroline, does, indeed, sound like an exhilarating renaissance, an intricately crafted work with a poetic brilliance and emotional grandeur that places it on a par with the Bunnymen's greatest records from the 80s and 90s, notably pysch-pop debut Crocodiles (1980), the majestic Heaven Up Here (1981), orchestral-rock masterpiece Ocean Rain (1984) and Britpop-era comeback Evergreen (1997).

But for all the classic Bunnymen hallmarks - McCulloch's aching, velvety tenor, Sergeant's shimmering guitar work - the new album's most striking feature is its unprecedented and startling lyrical candour. Deeply personal and subtly revelatory, it sees McCulloch finally facing up to his demons with an honesty that his previous records, however emotionally raw, have invariably shied away from. …

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