Echo and the Bunnymen Flowers

Twenty years into their recording career, you would think Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant would have run out of steam. The Bunnymen have had quite the ride, enduring a rough break-up in the late '80s, and the tragic loss of their drummer in a car accident. They released a dismal album without McCulloch (1990's Reverberation) and tried a quasi-comeback with the short-lived Electrafixion, but then decided to get back to basics in 1997 under the Echo and the Bunnymen flag. Flowers, their third since reforming (and ninth official studio album), is surprisingly refreshing. Sergeant's trademark guitar sound is inspiring, and McCulloch's voice, albeit a bit haggard from years of hard living, still delivers. This sounds exactly like an Echo and the Bunnymen album should, and that's not a bad thing. McCulloch feels that there is definitely a new attitude on this album. "The lyrics are more joyous, more up. I've felt up for the last six, seven months. People do sense a new positivity. Whatever thoughts I've had are downright optimistic." The writing and recording of Flowers was also remarkably short and sweet. "With this record I enjoyed the process - it only took four weeks to record and ten hours to write! It was that instinctive the way we wrote. Let's make it quick, write it quick - keep the spontaneity. I think we needed to do an album that was very fresh and almost naïve sounding - that kind of innocent method. At the end of the day, it isn't rocket science. Low by Bowie was done in about two weeks. We know how to play now, me and Will. It's more fun now, because we both have let our guard down with each other and get on with it. We're pushing in the same direction rather than pushing in opposite ones." Fans will definitely appreciate the classic sound of "Make Me Shine," "Everybody Knows," and the catchy title track. "We obviously still enjoy it and think we have enough vitality to do it. I do think this the record that our fans have been waiting for a long time." (True North)