Enlighten Me

It’s time for awesome album cover Sunday here at The Fault.

The above covers are to the Echo & The Bunnymen album “Reverberation.”  If you don’t know the history, this is the album the band made after lead singer (and big grump) Ian McCulloch left for solo career waters, and also after drummer Pete DeFreitas died in a motorbike accident.  It’s derided by many as not being ‘Echo’ enough, and it probably was a bad idea to use the Echo & The Bunnymen name.  A better idea would have been to become a new group altogether, but it’s likely the record label probably wouldn’t have let that happen – no name recognition to promote.  Plus, there’s a longstanding history of bands replacing irreplaceable members and carrying on as if nothing would change (if you don’t know Squeeze by the Velvet Underground, well…that’s actually a good thing.  I do like the cover for that album as well, to me it encapsulates the pop art of the early 70’s).

And so in 1990, we got “Reverberation”.  I received my copy as a Christmas gift, which is probably the only way I would have listened to it.  To my surprise, I found that I really, really enjoyed it.  The instrumentation is Echo’s latent psychedelic flourishes taken to their natural conclusions, with lots of Indian instrumentation like Sitars, string sections, and tablas throughout.  There’s also production by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, so it holds its 60’s cards close to its proverbial vest.  New singer Noel Burke is fine, but his voice isn’t McCulloch’s.  His lyrics also become very cliched and thesaurus-thick with multiple listens, but overall, the album holds up in a way that some of the ‘real’ Echo & The Bunnymen albums fail to do.

What about the cover, you ask?  Oh yeah, so…if you observe, on the right, there’s a bunch of appropriately psychedelic swirly things going on, with some silver inlay, yeah?  You tilt the picture in a certain way, and a woman’s face appears in triptych, as seen on the left.  It took me a while to figure it out, and the effect is repeated on the inside, with the band becoming visible upon further inspection.  It’s a cool cover that rewards further inspection, as, I believe, does the music contained within.  When I feel like listening to some Echo, at least a few songs on this album get a spin when I’m feeling nostalgic.

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