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Music / Echo & the Bunnymen

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The band's classic lineupnote 

"Bring on the dancing horses
Wherever they may roam
Shiver and say the words
Of every lie you've heard"
— "Bring on the Dancing Horses"

Echo & the Bunnymen are a Post-Punk/Psychedelic Rock band from Liverpool, England. They were part of the Neo-Psychedelic scene in Liverpool before breaking out in The '80s with popular albums and singles like Crocodiles and "The Cutter", reaching their peak in 1984 with the epic Goth Rock single "The Killing Moon" and album Ocean Rain. Fallouts led singer Ian McCulloch to leave the group in 1988 to start a solo career, though, and despite a brief attempt to carry on with Irish singer Noel Burke the death of drummer Pete de Freitas in a motorcycle accident and the poor reception afforded the new lineup's sole album together saw the band apparently cease to be. However, in the mid-'90s McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant started working together again as a new act, Electrafixion, and in 1997 bassist Les Pattinson reunited with them too. At this point the three surviving Bunnymen were all together once more, so the band name was revived for the well-received 'comeback' album Evergreen and subsequent releases and tours. The band are currently still performing and recording, with their Revolving Door Band lineup always centered around McCulloch and Sergeant.

Studio Discography

  • Crocodiles (1980)
  • Heaven Up Here (1981)
  • Porcupine (1983)
  • Ocean Rain (1984)
  • Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)
  • Reverberation (1990)
  • Evergreen (1997)
  • What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? (1999)
  • Flowers (2001)
  • Siberia (2005)
  • The Fountain (2009)
  • Meteorites (2014)
  • The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon (2018)

This band provides examples of:

  • Alternative Rock: Like many other Post-Punk acts, the band were a major influence on the movement and eventually hopped on board as the 80's progressed.
  • Artist and the Band: Ironically, the band doesn't have any member called Echo. It is rumored that the "Echo" was a reference to the drum machine they used before hiring Pete de Freitas as the band's drummer. Nevertheless, frontman Ian McCulloch has been mistakenly refered to as "Echo" many times.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Reverberation was recorded with Irish singer Noel Burke in place of Ian McCulloch. Its poor reception, due in part to McCulloch's replacement, led the band to dissolve again.
  • Book Ends: "Happy Death Men", the closing track of Crocodiles, ends with a snippet from "Going Up", the album's opening track.
  • Call-Back: Evergreen's album art mimics that of their first album, Crocodiles, representing its status as the band's first release after their reunion.
  • Cover Version: Two of The Doors: "People Are Strange" and "Ship of Fools"
  • Darker and Edgier: Heaven Up Here is bleaker and heavier than Crocodiles, with its proto-Goth Rock sound and nightmarish lyrics.
  • The '80s: Active during them, and the sound of "Killing Moon" in any T.V show or film is more or less shorthand for "This series takes place in the '80's, and is probably about goths or at least miserable people".
  • Goth Rock: One of the Post-Punk forerunners with their darker work, particularly 1981's Heaven Up Here with its dark, nightmarish tone and tribal drumming, and 1984's Ocean Rain and its nighttime romanticism.
  • Greatest Hits Album: They have nine of these out, of which the first - 1985's Songs to Learn and Sing - is notable for the first release of their second major hit: "Bring on the Dancing Horses".
  • Looks Like Cesare: Ian and his wild, dark hair.
  • New Sound Album: The Self-Titled Album marked the point where the band shed the last vestiges of Post-Punk and fully embraced Alternative Rock, while still maintaining their psychedelic core.
  • Non-Indicative Name: There's no one named Echo in the band. Urban legend had it that "Echo" was the name of the band's drum machine prior to gaining Pete de Freitas, but the band have denied this.
    • Will explained the actual meaning of the name.
    We had this mate who kept suggesting all these names like The Daz Men or Glisserol and the Fan Extractors. Echo and the Bunnymen was one of them. I thought it was just as stupid as the rest.
  • Oddball in the Series: Reverberation, the band's only album without Ian among their lineup (being replaced by Northern Irish singer Noel Burke) and the most overtly psychedelic album they ever put out.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Ian's voice was a quivering wail until The Noughties, when the years of smoking made it rougher and deeper.
  • Post-Punk: Trope Codifiers of its darker side, alongside bands like The Cure and Joy Division.
  • Psychedelic Rock: Part of the Liverpool Neo-Psychedelic scene alongside The Teardrop Explodes.
  • Rearrange the Song: The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon consists almost entirely of orchestral re-recordings of the band's old hits, with two new songs thrown in for good measure.
  • Revolving Door Band: Since 1999, Ian and Will are the only constant band members.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • The subject of "Over the Wall"
    • Subverted in "Is This a Breakdown?"
      "I don't think so"
  • Self-Titled Album: Their 1987 album.
  • Shout-Out: