Echo and the Bunnymen Siberia

Echo and the Bunnymen have been "down but not out” since their reunion for 1997’s Evergreen, and this shell of a once great band haven’t yet written the stinker that will put the final nail in the coffin. That said, in their second wind, the Scousers have yet to match their weakest album from their heyday — 1986’s self-titled effort. Siberia though is the closest they’ve come so far. The Bunnymen keep proving they will likely never tap into that magic responsible for their first four records again, but they’ve turned to a reliable source to help them break out of the MOR rut they’ve been drowning in the last three records. Producer Hugh Jones, the man behind their flawless Heaven Up Here, has rejuvenated the band in a way, as Will Sergeant’s influential guitar strokes sound more like they did 20-plus years ago. Ian McCulloch stills resonates passionately like he’s the greatest vocalist ever (which he thinks he is); most effectively on the title track’s array of croons and "All Because Of You,” which sounds a lot like Coldplay, a band they so obviously influenced. Long-time fans will find "Parthenon Drive” to be the best of all; here Jones has recreated the band’s celebrated ’80s excellence, with a familiar, steady rhythm section and Sergeant’s mesmerising guitar taking control for what is likely their best single and even best song since 1986’s "Lips Like Sugar.” Siberia not only rebuilds some great moments from yesteryear, but it also shows that some of these has-beens still have what it takes to stay alive in an industry that is constantly looking for new music. (True North)