Meteorites, the latest album by English post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen, is a weighty, melancholy affair. However, melancholy is not always particularly interesting. There is a fine line between comfort zone and signature sound, and Meteorites balances on it precariously.
The initial eponymous track off of Meteorites begins with creeping guitar riff then crescendos into a sweeping, grandiose lament. “Meteorites” sets the bar high for the rest of the album, but the next couple tracks fall flat. The song “Is This A Breakdown?” is repetitive and tired, and I’ve never rolled my eyes harder at such uninspired lyrics.
However, the standout tracks from Meteorites are “Burn It Down” and “Explosions.” Despite the cliché song titles, these songs are the most genuine tracks on the entire album. I imagine both of these songs will be featured on a “getting over a break up” playlist. Another favorite, “Lovers On the Run” sounds like a classic Bunnymen song, yet it is never formulaic.
Meteorites has a kind of desperation that is almost palpable, but not in a romantic sense. A few tracks feel so tired and ridiculous (what’s up with “Market Town”?) that I found myself consistently hitting skip. However, I cannot say this is a bad album. Ian McCulloch’s vocals are still haunting, and the tracks I did enjoy, carried a lot of weight. In a recent interview about the album with the Huffington Post, Ian McCulloch states “I actually enjoyed the waves of melancholy.” After giving Meteorites a listen, I felt the same way.