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Porcupine [Bonus Tracks]
     

Porcupine [Bonus Tracks]

5.0 1
by Echo & the Bunnymen
 

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Released in 1983, the same year as U2's breakthrough War, Porcupine wasn't quite as big an artistic triumph or chart success (though it did give Echo & the Bunnymen their first Top 10 U.K. hit, "The Cutter"). But the prickly album did echo War's charged aura -- that of a rock band inventing a new language from the ashes of the

Overview

Released in 1983, the same year as U2's breakthrough War, Porcupine wasn't quite as big an artistic triumph or chart success (though it did give Echo & the Bunnymen their first Top 10 U.K. hit, "The Cutter"). But the prickly album did echo War's charged aura -- that of a rock band inventing a new language from the ashes of the post-punk that had fueled their early years. Songs such as "The Cutter," "The Back of Love," and "Heads Will Roll" not only boast furious strumming, roiling rhythms and singer Ian McCulloch's impassioned bloodletting; they also display a psychedelic influence through strings and sitar. The 2004 reissue of the Bunnymen's third album benefits from seven bonus tracks: they include the B-side "Fuel," a literal bedroom recording; and "Never Stop (Discotheque)," a stellar pop song of the time joining a furious, dance floor–friendly rhythm with driving strings, soaring guitars, and chiming piano (clubs of the era happily segued it with a dub mix of U2's "Two Hearts Beat as One"). The remaining five tracks are alternate versions of songs on the album -- three are previously unreleased, and all are worth a spin. "The Cutter," for example, is less refined but is a fascinating display of a work in progress, while "Porcupine" is all the more moody. Cool in every sense of the word, Porcupine boasts some of the Bunnymen's finest recordings.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
The group's third album is a solid outing, a noticeably better listen than its predecessor, Heaven Up Here. Songs are intriguing and elaborate, often featuring swooping, howling melodic lines. Arrangements here owe a lot to 1960s psychedelia and feature lots of reverb, washed textures, intricate production touches, and altered guitar sounds. Ian McCulloch's vocals are yearning, soaring, and hyper-expressive here, almost to the point of being histrionic, most notably on "Clay," "Ripeness," and the title track. Driving bass and drums lend the songs urgency and keep the music from collapsing into self-indulgence. Parallels between the group's U.S. contemporaries such as Translator, Wire Train, and R.E.M. can be drawn, though all seem to have developed aspects of this style at about the same time -- and none utilize it as flamboyantly as the Bunnymen do. Highlights here include "Back of Love" (with its galloping drumbeat and fragmented yet ardent vocal line) and "Gods Will Be Gods" (which gradually speeds up from beginning to end, working itself into a swirling frenzy). This album is well worth hearing. [The 2004 reissue of Porcupine features new liner notes, photos, improved sound, and a wealth of bonus tracks. Best of the lot is the single that followed the record, "Never Stop," the band's most exciting and successful fusion of dancefloor energy and pop hooks. "Fuel," the B-side of the "The Back of Love" single that was recorded in Will Sergeant's bedroom, is included too. The most interesting additions for collectors will be the four alternate versions of songs from the album. There are plenty of subtle differences and a slightly more energetic approach. "The Cutter" is especially fun to hear in its early stages. A very well done expansion of an already fine album.] ~ David Cleary & Tim Sendra

Product Details

Release Date:
01/27/2004
Label:
Imports
UPC:
0825646116324
catalogNumber:
1003153

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Echo & the Bunnymen   Primary Artist
Lakshminarayana Shankar   Strings
Ian McCulloch   Guitar,Vocals
Pattinson   Bass
Will Sergeant   Guitar
Pete de Freitas   Drums

Technical Credits

Echo & the Bunnymen   Producer,Engineer
David Balfe   Engineer
Dave Bascombe   Engineer
Ian Broudie   Producer
Colin Fairley   Engineer
Bill Inglot   Reissue Producer
Hugh Jones   Producer
Ian McCulloch   Composer
Pattinson   Composer
Will Sergeant   Composer
Steve Short   Engineer
Pete de Freitas   Composer
Dave Woolley   Engineer
Rachel Gutek   Reissue Design
Andy Zax   Reissue Producer
Max Bell   Liner Notes
Brian D. Griffin   Cover Photo
Paul Cobald   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Porcupine 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album seems to split critics down the middle. It's either rewarding or contrived melodrama. Personally, I think it's a bit of both, and "Porcupine" remains my favorite Bunnymen album to this day because of it. The familiarity of "The Cutter" and "Back of Love" in no way diminishes their awesome power to hold and captivate. The chugging rhythm of each is classic Bunnymen and offers Pete the opportunity to shine on the drums. Further cuts like "Clay" and "Heads will Roll" seamlessly meld with more lengthy and obscure cuts like the title track and "Higher Hell". One would be hard-pressed to find a more appropriate cover shot for an album. "Porcupine" is a cold, somewhat detached, album of angst that should not be overlooked in favor of more accessible albums like "Ocean Rain". Just be sure to give it more than one listen before passing judgement.