career. and Pete de Freitas. a drummer without peer in 80s rock. lost his life in a motorbike accident .last year. It was widely assumed that the group were at an end.
However. McCulloch's place at centre stage has been taken by Belfast resident Noel Burke. and Damon Reece. a Londoner who moved to Liverpool five years ago. is the new drummer. Jake ‘Fingers‘ Brockman. who has added keyboards since the early days. has after almost a decade. assumed his rightful place.
Reece has his love of old motorbikes to thank for his introduction to The Bunnymen. lie and Brockman got to know each other through their mutual interest. Reece moved in to Brockman's flat and swiftly found himself invited to add some ﬂoor toms to augment the computerised drum patterns that Sergeant and Pattinson were using. ‘Eventually. we binned the computer.‘ Reece laughs. and he knew that due to that strange. informal alchemy that is the Bunnymen's way ofoperating. he was in. He still sounds like he can hardly believe it.
()n the new LP. Reverlwration. the new Echo and The Bunnymen sound not dissimilar to the old. Burke has
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inherited some of Mc(‘ulloch’s intonation and lyrical style. and Reece‘s drumming sticks close to the de Freitas model. Reece never actually saw de Freitas play live. ‘though I did have a jam with him once. I was playing flute for some reason. just making weird noises with it. having a jam with loads of people and he came in the room and started playing. ()ne of the only times I ever met him. unfortunately.‘
Did the existing Bunnymen style. it has to be asked. inhibit the new recruits — dictate their styles to a degree'.’ Reece can only answer for himself.
‘lt‘s ironic. really. because it's the style I’m used to. just by coincidence. The way they do things is so natural. nothing‘s ever forced. They don‘t try to do anything. like saying “let’s do something unusual here". it just happens.’
The new line-up made its debut in. ofall places. Bootle (‘ommunity Centre. a gig which was intended to be low-key but received the full glare ofmusic press attention. Reece mutters something about 'stupid bastards who should‘ve kept their mouths shut. but admits that. despite nerves. the live shows have gone surprisingly well so far.
He takes a realistic view of
Reir'erberarion. which is a refreshing change after the old headstrong Bunnymen habit oftrumpeting each release as being the best of the year. the decade. all time.
‘I think it's a grower. People you wouldn't imagine would like it have come back and said “I hate to say this. but I really like the album”. But [think it'sa very safe album. It's the way it happened. but I think we all realise now it is very safe. Maybe we would have liked it to be a bit weirder. I think in the future it‘ll still sound the same. but it‘ll get a bit heavier. I don‘t think it‘s that far removed from the old stuff.”
Was there ever any doubt about keeping the name'.’
‘()h God. yeah. it was the most talked-about thing! I think at the moment it's a bit weird. because everyone‘s saying to us that we shouldn't have kept it. but if you think about it. when Mac left it was still Will. Les. Pete and Jake. so it was still the band. and I think they felt that because Pete had put so much into it. it would be a shame just to junk it all — that he would have liked it to continue.‘
Echo and The Bunnymen play Champions. Glasgow. on 510225 and The Venue. Edinburgh. on Mon 26.
LIGHT 46 FOLK & WORLD 48 CLASSICAL 54
ROCK & BLUES 42 JAZZ 46
those style gurus the Mondays giving the hippy old fogey some bizarre ’90s kudos. nobody gave two poops in a hurricane over Donovan — I cannot embark upon a rational comparison of the various interpretations of the Man they call Ilurdy and. indeed. (iurdy. What we can say is that the Buttholes are warped sickos. whose version teeters on the edge of satanic subliminal mindwarp (probably) and after hearing their brainwashing incantation at least three times now. I feel strangely compelled to seek out a goat foetus and have it poached. with potatoes. for tea. ((‘Mcl.) I Milk: Birthquake (Eve) Feeling snowed-under with post-l luskers wannabe Sub-Pop singles. but I feel an unnacountable urge to play this again. Good sign. And good weirdo artwork. (AM)
I The Bluebirds:Three Women EP (Dirge) Dirge is right! Are these nouveau hippies or persons ofthe original vintage still smarting at not gettingon the Easy Rider soundtrack'.> ()f the three tracks here. one comes at us like The Who with beer bellies and bloated rawk tendencies; the second could be a talent-free Costello with beer belly and bloated rawk tendencies: and the third is some overlong Doors/Steppenwolf-type joke. Avoid. (AM) I Test Dept: Pax Americana (MOP) At least when Test Dept set upon a subject. you know they're doing more to put it in context than slapping a few sampled newsreels on to a drum track and calling it a radical statement. What with its ‘We love Saddam llusscin' chant. this sounds like a real candidate. but it‘s played off against Yeats's famous poem ‘The Second Coming. which is in this case a reminder that US Government fundamentalists believe that a (3qu war would be the signal for Armageddon. and might consequently throw caution to the winds. Points taken off. however. for spelling Yeats's name wrong and not coming up with a more compelling track. (AM)
The List 23 November— 6 December 199037