Echo and the Bunnymen Siberia

[Cooking Vinyl; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles:  post-punk
Others: Joy Division, The Chameleons

What do I want out of an Echo and the Bunnymen album in 2005? That remains the central question upon which an evaluation of their newest offering Siberia hinges. If a band must 'pay dues,' then the first four Bunnymen albums clearly fulfill that function for me. Injecting a pure dose of melodrama into the post-punk formula of peers like Wire and Joy Division, they are probably the most fun to listen to; always catchy and poppy, but never bland. From the charging Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here to the bombastic Porcupine and the unusually orchestrated Ocean Rain, each of these albums has a different style, brimming over with songs I love.

However, by the time the men of Bunny got to their fifth self-titled album, they had taken a few years off and came back with much less of an experimental, driving edge. However, that album is not lacking whatsoever in good songs. In fact, it might be the most consistent of the five albums recorded with their original lineup. By that time in their career, though, it is conceivable that a band might want to settle down, not tinker with their sound too much, and just write a batch of songs that are fantastic.

Though, now sporting only two original members, the unmistakable vocalist Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant, the result is similar to the fifth album, and in that sense, it is a success. Even if it is a bit less adventurous, many of the tunes are right up there with anything the band has done. The real standout track is "In the Margins" a haunting pop rock song with an e-bowed guitar floating above the mix and melancholy feel. Elsewhere, the band gets their ire up on "Scissors in the Sand," while the titular track is the lone spot where they show their Doors-y side. Despite some dull spots and less-than-amazing songs, Siberia is a solid album from a band that has already released enough top-notch work that hoping for anything more is just greedy.

1. Stormy Weather
2. All Because Of You Days
3. Parthenon Drive
4. In The Margins
5. Of A Life
6. Make Us Blind
7. Everything Kills You
8. Siberia
9. Sideways Eight
10. Scissors In The Sand
11. What If We Are?