RELEASE
LABEL
Sire
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Punk, College Rock

Album Review

What's that echo you hear? One of the Bunnymen has decided to sit things out, and it's none other than the frontman himself. Reverberation is really an Echo & the Bunnymen album in title only. Ian McCulloch is out to pasture on this one, embarking on a solo career, and in his place is Noel Burke. Somehow, newcomer Burke is a great fit with the remaining Bunnymen, and the result is a true delight, even if it makes little sense in the band's discography. Realistically, Burke sounds nothing like McCulloch, as his vocals are far higher than McCulloch's deep croon. Will Sergeant could have easily gone the route that Peter Hook would go years later, when he found a Bernard Sumner sound-alike for New Order offshoot Monaco, so Sergeant is certainly a risk-taker in this sense. When Burke does affect McCulloch's tones, he sounds more like Mark Burgess of the Chameleons, and that's an interesting proposition in itself. The Burke and Sergeant team cracks out their own share of would-be classics. "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "Enlighten Me" throb with catchy glee, and "Flaming Red" paints a picture of beautiful, quiet grace. "King of Your Castle" is perhaps the only occasion where Burke overly extends his range and falters, but the song's optimism is still quite winning. Indeed, the album could qualify as Sergeant's brightest and most uplifting creation. "Flaming Red," in particular, would have been far darker with Ian McCulloch at the helm, as its music seems a close cousin to "The Killing Moon," but Burke's vocals lighten the mood into one of delicate grace. It should also be noted that original Bunnymen drummer Peter DeFreitas died in a motorcycle accident shortly before Reverberation was recorded, and future Spiritualized and Lupine Howl drummer Damon Reece ably takes his place behind the drum kit. The liner notes dedicate the album to "Pete and all who loved him." Reverberation would have been a great debut had Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson decided to operate under a different moniker. Who knows if Sergeant thought McCulloch would someday return to the band, but it would have made more sense for these ten songs to have been released under a new band name, because whether one likes or dislikes this album, Echo & the Bunnymen doesn't exist without the distinctive voice of Ian McCulloch, and it seems rather unfair that Burke had to go up against the enigmatic legacy of McCulloch. Though it confuses the Echo & the Bunnymen catalog, Reverberation is an accomplished, charming album that most Echo & the Bunnymen fans will appreciate, if not cherish. Why Noel Burke wasn't able to hop away from his time with the Bunnymen and make his own name is a reverberating mystery of its own.
Tim DiGravina, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Gone, Gone, Gone
  2. Enlighten Me
  3. Cut & Dried
  4. King of Your Castle
  5. Devilment
  6. Thick Skinned World
  7. Freaks Dwell
  8. Senseless
  9. Flaming Red
  10. False Goodbyes