Echo & The Bunnymen - Porcupine (POLLupine?)

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I can't believe we haven't done this one!

Dug this out after my massive Drummond binge of the past few weeks. Vastly underrated album, IMO.

Included non-album single, Never Stop (Discoteque) just to stop The Cutter from walking this.

Poll Results

The Cutter 10
The Back of Love 9
Never Stop (Discoteque) 5
My White Devil 4
In Bluer Skies 4
Heads Will Roll 3
Ripeness 1
Clay 0
Porcupine 0
Higher Hell 0
Gods Will Be Gods 0

I'd rather be the swallow than a dick (Branwell Bell), Saturday, 25 January 2014 17:18 (nine years ago) link

"Am I the Shall in potential, or am I the SUCK in cess" way overrides any "Duchess of Malfior" lyrical missteps, IMO.

I'd rather be the swallow than a dick (Branwell Bell), Saturday, 25 January 2014 17:19 (nine years ago) link

Initial thoughts upon seeing (but not hearing in at least 1, maybe 2 decades) this tracklist:

Huge fan of Mr. Sergeant's guitar tone/playing on this one.

First side seems amazingly stacked vs. side 2.

Never Stop is a CD bonus track? Don't remember it on the LP, but def owned the 12".

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 25 January 2014 17:41 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, CD bonus track (along with a bunch of various different mixes of album tracks I'm not sure the reason for including) but it's such a monster I couldn't not include it.

The tension on this album is just perfect, halfway balanced between the scrappy post-punk of the earlier material, and the sweeping orchestral stuff that was to come. I never rated it much past the singles when I was a kid, but I keep coming back to it. It just has some utter monster basslines. (I spent my whole 90s trying to play Bunnymen style monster basslines.)

I'd rather be the swallow than a dick (Branwell Bell), Saturday, 25 January 2014 17:46 (nine years ago) link

heads will POLL

fit and working again, Saturday, 25 January 2014 17:50 (nine years ago) link

The section two thirds of the way into Heads Will Roll where Shankar takes off still gives me goosebumps after all this time.

MaresNest, Saturday, 25 January 2014 20:05 (nine years ago) link

"The Back of Love" might be the dumbest song of the era.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 25 January 2014 20:12 (nine years ago) link

My friend Stripey completely agrees with you, Alfred -- what are your reasons?

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:08 (nine years ago) link

(Stripey hates it for being frantic, monotonous and not fitting in with the album; she tried a different track order once and says it's more salvageable.)

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:10 (nine years ago) link

I have such a soft spot for The Back of Love for the simple reason that being able to play that bassline was such an 80s bravado "yeah, I'm the most amazing bass player evah" thing.

I'd rather be the swallow than a dick (Branwell Bell), Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:16 (nine years ago) link

Man, Les is an author of fantastic, economical basslines.

MaresNest, Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:48 (nine years ago) link

Kinda a key reason why everything since the initial reunion was at best pleasant, one or two earliest numbers aside -- no de Freitas means *that* rhythm section isn't operational to start with, and when Les was like "Yeah, fun, but really I am done" shortly thereafter

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:53 (nine years ago) link

Rare band where: swap out the singer = no one notices; no more rhythm section = yeah, this is not going to work.

I'd rather be the swallow than a dick (Branwell Bell), Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:56 (nine years ago) link

There's a few bands that get back together and do a single that's up there with their best. Then they make more singles that are um ok I guess.. And they fade off,

Mark G, Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:58 (nine years ago) link

xpost what, the album without Ian? I have it on cassette and it's good but it's not EATB.

Mark G, Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:59 (nine years ago) link

I keep thinking this is an lp with one good side and one soso, maybe I need to listen to it again. Always loved teh side with the singles anyway.
It was my fist lp by them and stayed that way for a couple of decades I think. Not sure why since I loved what i heard of Heaven Up Here

Stevolende, Saturday, 25 January 2014 22:09 (nine years ago) link

first LP I ever bought so this is like being asked to pick a favourite child. the one thing I don't like is 'never stop' (and 'fuel', the only other non-alternate-mix extra, is great too)

koogs, Sunday, 26 January 2014 02:17 (nine years ago) link

Fantastic album, just when I needed a dark LP in my life (Spring '86) I bought this and wallowed in its sheer misery and fucked-up-ness. But because it showed a way out of the gloom I've picked "In bluer skies". Close call with "Ripeness" and "Clay" though.

Rob M Revisited, Sunday, 26 January 2014 12:42 (nine years ago) link

"The Cutter" is odds-onn favorite; but it always seemed like a poor fit with the rest of the album -- it should have been left to the s/t EP -- so, i'll vote for "My White Devil" which captures just about everything that made this band so great.

bodacious ignoramus, Sunday, 26 January 2014 16:40 (nine years ago) link

Has to be Never Stop for me. The live video, the 12" sleeve - the whole experience of that song is perfect.

brotherlovesdub, Sunday, 26 January 2014 17:48 (nine years ago) link

Voted Heads Will Roll, and now I guess they will

Dr X O'Skeleton, Sunday, 26 January 2014 18:28 (nine years ago) link

John Webster was one of the best there was / He was the author of two major tragedies / The White Devil and the Duchess of Malfi

Hard not to love that. Wasn't it basically inspired by his Mac's gf's Eng Lit A level revision?

Favourite Bunnymen, though I experienced the singles first through my picture disc of Songs To Learn and Sing (the side B run-in groove clicks punctuating the cello stabs on Never Stop).

Michael Jones, Sunday, 26 January 2014 20:10 (nine years ago) link

Went for The Back of Love which is some days my favourite Bunnymen song. I've always found this the weakest of those first four albums. I always wanted to like it more than I do as the artwork is so great.

Kitchen Person, Sunday, 26 January 2014 20:24 (nine years ago) link

> the Duchess of Malfi

i find it curious that he seemingly adds another syllable to the end of this. for the longest time i thought it was 'Malfior'.

on saturday i walked past the globe which is advertising DoM and an hour later my mp3 player played the song.

koogs, Sunday, 26 January 2014 21:05 (nine years ago) link

He does sing it wrong! Apparently Julian Cope had a t-shirt made with the lyric printed on it to highlight the mistake in Ian's literary pretensions.

I'd rather be the swallow than a dick (Branwell Bell), Sunday, 26 January 2014 21:11 (nine years ago) link

Did a little search through Turquoise Days on Google Books and, in '94, Mac says he sang "Malfio" deliberately to fit the meter and Cope embarrassed himself by drawing attention to it. But in '83 he says it was basically a page from an exercise book of his girlfriend's and he'd never heard of John Webster and nothing else in the song relates to Webster or his work (though the NME review took it as a starting point!).

Michael Jones, Sunday, 26 January 2014 21:19 (nine years ago) link

I'd still believe Cope over '94 Mac.

I'd rather be the swallow than a dick (Branwell Bell), Sunday, 26 January 2014 21:22 (nine years ago) link

I went with "In Bluer Skies"

Karl Malone, Monday, 27 January 2014 00:08 (nine years ago) link

Today I am all about My White Devil, mostly because of the tension between the two interlocking guitar riffs, and the snare rolls, is just so damn propulsive and amazing. But then again, I can never, ever vote for that lyric. Ever.

these birches is awful (Branwell Bell), Tuesday, 28 January 2014 13:47 (nine years ago) link

But it is the best rock song ever written about John Webster.

Not counting Woolly Bully.

Marcus / Xgau - Whose Century? (broom air), Tuesday, 28 January 2014 18:43 (nine years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 6 February 2014 00:01 (nine years ago) link

Oh god I really have to pick one now!

"righteous indignation shit" (Branwell Bell), Thursday, 6 February 2014 00:02 (nine years ago) link

Magnificent record. Still probably have to go with "The Cutter" despite "cut the mustard" being a really stupid phrase to include in a pop song.

Inside Lewellyn Sinclair (cryptosicko), Thursday, 6 February 2014 00:43 (nine years ago) link

This lp definitely Sergeant's hour of glory, and one of my favorite guitar records of its decade. I so love the snake charmer vibe he gets going on here. Which is at its most snake charming on Heads Will Roll, so that.

(But the cutter will always be my favorite to sing along to)

grape is the flavor of my true love's hair (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 6 February 2014 01:43 (nine years ago) link

shut up, he sings "cut the mustard"? DON'T RUIN THIS SONG FOR ME.

ad music for ad people (Hunt3r), Thursday, 6 February 2014 01:46 (nine years ago) link

haha, i don't know what the FUCK i thought he was singing, but that was never it.

ad music for ad people (Hunt3r), Thursday, 6 February 2014 01:51 (nine years ago) link

(couldn't) cut the mustard is a perfectly cromulant phrase, I don't know what the problem is, maybe that it stands out too much, like the John Webster bits

koogs, Thursday, 6 February 2014 07:33 (nine years ago) link

(I love "cut the mustard" but then I'm also a fan of "c-c-cucumbers, c-c-cabbages, c-c-cauliflowers, men on Mars, April showers..." on a later album. I prefer Mac when he's being surreal and nonsensical to when he's being profound, actually.)

"righteous indignation shit" (Branwell Bell), Thursday, 6 February 2014 09:20 (nine years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 7 February 2014 00:01 (nine years ago) link

I thought it was "Come and cut the mustard" but hey.

Good results btw..

Mark G, Friday, 7 February 2014 07:00 (nine years ago) link

Forgot to vote, would've probably gone with the title track. Love the breakdown in the middle with the violin and the long chaotic coda.

LeRooLeRoo, Friday, 7 February 2014 07:26 (nine years ago) link

They were a pretty handsome band too:

LeRooLeRoo, Friday, 7 February 2014 07:28 (nine years ago) link

They were a handsome band.

Kinda regret not voting for Clay now, but feel like my vote was the deciding factor between My White Devil and Never Stop. :-/

"righteous indignation shit" (Branwell Bell), Friday, 7 February 2014 08:51 (nine years ago) link

Definitely threw my vote to "The Cutter" based on my ten-year-old self's fascination with that song. Still get a huge kick out of it, but really it cannot be overstated how mysterious and cool I found it to be when I first heard it (which is when it came out due to the amazing WLIR out of Long Island). Basically it got me into the band too, which is cool. Great record though, very formative one for me.

grandavis, Friday, 7 February 2014 16:26 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

how in holy hell did "Gods Will Be Gods" not get a single vote -- what an outro!

stuffing your suit pockets with cold, stale chicken tende (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 November 2023 15:44 (three weeks ago) link

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