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Heaven Up Here [Bonus Tracks]
     

Heaven Up Here [Bonus Tracks]

5.0 1
by Echo & the Bunnymen
 

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Don't be fooled by the serene cover: Heaven Up Here is all about the depths of depression and the stranglehold of anxiety. Building upon the sonic foundation they laid with their debut, Crocodiles, Liverpool quartet Echo & the Bunnymen continue to define their distinctive post-punk sound on this 1981 album, setting the tone

Overview

Don't be fooled by the serene cover: Heaven Up Here is all about the depths of depression and the stranglehold of anxiety. Building upon the sonic foundation they laid with their debut, Crocodiles, Liverpool quartet Echo & the Bunnymen continue to define their distinctive post-punk sound on this 1981 album, setting the tone with ringing guitars, unsettling rhythms, and Ian McCulloch's soul-searching lyrics and soul-venting delivery. "Some crave for heaven, while we live in hell," the famously coiffed singer laments in the eerie "The Disease," sounding like Robert Smith caught on an especially bad day. Meanwhile, guitarist Will Sergeant was further developing his distinctive style, flaunting his ear for both Church-like sonics ("With a Hip") and Smiths-like hooks ("A Promise"). With its Eno-derived guitar sound, "All My Colours" was really a showcase for the Bunnymen's rhythm section, especially drummer Pete De Freitas, which had long since given the band an edge over their peers. The extra tracks fleshing out this deluxe 2004 reissue include the seven-minute rhythmic workout "Broke My Neck," a B-side, and four live tracks recorded in Australia in late '81. It's a vibrant encapsulation of their stage show at the time; all forces joined with particular force on "All I Want." Although it lives and breathes doom and gloom, Heaven Up Here manages rise above the abyss, buoyed by determination and inspiration.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Following their more psychedelia-based debut, Crocodiles, and subsequent "Puppet" single, Echo & the Bunnymen returned in 1981 with the darkest and perhaps most experimental album of their career. Heaven Up Here lacks the signature hooks and melodies that would make the Bunnymen famous, showcasing instead a dirge-like songwriting approach built around the circular rhythms of bassist Les Pattinson and drummer Pete DeFreitas. In this setting, the band remarkably flourishes, although they would go on to greater heights by scaling back the album's extremism. Heaven Up Here's strength is the way in which the Bunnymen seamlessly work together to shape each song's dynamics (the tension underlying the crescendo of "Turquoise Days" being a prime example). Ian McCulloch, having found his trademark confidence, sings with soaring abandon and passion throughout the album. Similarly, Will Sergeant's guitar playing, notably freed from verse-chorus structure and pop riffs, is at its angular finest; his playing on "No Dark Things" is pure Andy Gill-esque skronk. The album's opening troika of "Show of Strength," "With a Hip," and "Over the Wall" (the latter with its jarring, direct invocation of Del Shannon's "Runaway") are particularly effective, establishing the theme of distrust and restlessness which continues throughout the album. Indeed, even the album's lone single, "A Promise," is hardly light, pop material. But the message underneath that darkness, especially in McCulloch's lyrics, is a call to overcome rather than wallow, as the album ends with the relatively euphoric "All I Want." Sitting comfortably next to the pioneering work of contemporaries like Joy Division/New Order, and early Public Image Ltd. and Cure, this is a rather fine -- and in the end, influential -- example of atmospheric post-punk. Having reached the British Top Ten, Heaven Up Here is highly regarded among Echo & the Bunnymen's fans precisely for the reasons which, on the surface, make it one of the least accessible albums in the band's catalog. [The 2004 reissue of Heaven Up Here boasts improved sound, new liner notes, lots of photos, and bonus tracks. Chief among these are live renditons of tracks from the album ("Show of Strength," "The Disease," "All I Want," and "Zimbo") recorded in Australia in November of 1981. They are raw and energetic, the sound of an exciting rock band in its prime. Also included is the B-side to "A Promise," the long version of the dark and meandering (and very Gang of Four-sounding) "Broke My Neck."] ~ Aaron Warshaw & Tim Sendra

Product Details

Release Date:
01/27/2004
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0825646116225
catalogNumber:
61162

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Echo & the Bunnymen   Primary Artist
Ian McCulloch   Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Pattinson   Bass
Leslie Penny   Woodwind
Will Sergeant   Guitar
Pete de Freitas   Drums

Technical Credits

Echo & the Bunnymen   Producer
Bill Inglot   Reissue Producer
Hugh Jones   Producer,Engineer,Original Album Producer
Ian McCulloch   Composer
Pattinson   Composer
Will Sergeant   Composer
Pete de Freitas   Composer
Rachel Gutek   Art Direction
Andy Zax   Reissue Producer
Martyn Atkins   Cover Design
Max Bell   Liner Notes

Customer Reviews

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Heaven Up Here 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't agree more with the "professional critic" above. What makes this album such a favorite among Bunnymen fans is exactly what keeps it from popularity. Think of "Heaven Up Here" as the anti-thesis to the band's self-titled gray album, and one begins to understand the animosity toward the latter. Whereas that release was like wading in a swimming pool, "Heaven Up Here" is like swimming against the current. Try as you might to keep up, there is simply too much happening to effectively take it all in at once. Ian McCulloch's voice acts as another instrument in the mix, collectively creating a tortured, sometimes dissonant, tapestry of sound. This is not to say that the album is without discernable melodies, as "Show of Strength", "Over the Wall", and "A Promise" prove. It is to say, however, that this is NOT a pop album by any means. It plays as a carefully considered, densely layered examination of human nature and interaction. As such, the casual fan or pop listener may not find much to like here. However, Bunnymen fans, particularly of Will Sargeant's kinetic guitar rushes, will find much to admire and cherish.