Echo and The Bunnymen - Porcupine - Review
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critics' view

Most fans would state that Ocean Rain is their magnum opus, but is it possible that Porcupine, their third album, is equally as strong and was simply overshadowed by the work that followed? Firstly, very few albums have ever started with a two-song salvo as strong as ‘The Cutter’ and ‘The Back of Love’ – two post-punk classics that demonstrate The Bunnymen’s ability to be as playful as they are introspective, where the band drift between the two moods seamlessly within the songs. The rest of the album, while not containing any more timeless hits, finds a satisfying level of emotional depth without ever coming across as over-bearing or pretentious. A clever technique employed on Porcupine is the way that Ian McCulloch’s vocals are treated. On ‘Clay’ they sound like another instrument, reverberating almost as much as Will Sergeant’s guitar – something that often nearly single-handedly lifts the Bunnymen above many of their peers. He has an unrivalled ability to add the perfect amount of guitar at any point, whether it’s the provocative chords in ‘Porcupine’ or those iconic jabs at the start of ‘The Back of Love’. However, that isn’t to say that Les Pattinson’s elastic bass-playing or Pete De Freitas’ tight drumming aren’t just as vital to the band’s sound. Having all the members of a band play damn close to their full potential without sounding self-absorbed is a pretty rare thing but it’s hard to deny that it happens here.

Jon Gunter
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