Album #231: Echo & the Bunnymen – Crocodiles

  • Released: 1980
  • Origin: Liverpool, England
  • Label: Korova
  • Best Track: Monkeys

The latest on the list of “bands I’ve shockingly never heard an album by”, I’ve spent a wet Wednesday at the onset of autumn with the appropriate soundtrack of Echo & the Bunnymen’s now 40-year-old debut.

I’ve heard it suggested that when Ian Curtis died, it was The Cure who picked up the pieces of post-punk and took it in a more gothic and theatrical direction. If that’s true, the early work of E&TB could perhaps be seen as a bridge between the two. It’s not as morbid and to-the-point as Joy Division, being more metaphorical on tracks like ‘Pictures on My Wall’. Nonetheless, it does retain the introversion and paranoia of the scene’s roots, with little of the sort of arty aesthetic usually associated with Robert Smith. I realise I’m starting to sound like I hate The Cure, but I like them a lot, even if I’ve struggled to really get into an album.

What I’ve found with Crocodiles is that, like with OMD’s Architecture & Morality, there are a lot of songs on it I feel like I’ve heard before. In reality, I don’t think I have heard them, it’s just that they seem instantly recognisable and a blueprint for many acts that aped them over the decades to come.

I think ‘Monkeys’ is my favourite track, with it’s distinctive intro and hollering chorus, and closing tracks ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘Happy Death Men’ end the album on a welcome experimental note, reminding me of my recent listen to Swell Maps.

My only real previous experience of Echo & The Bunnymen was their comeback in the late ’90s, when they dovetailed quite comfortable into a rich British indie scene with songs like ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. This has made me realise there’s plenty more to explore.

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