Monday, May 4, 2009

Top 100 songs of all time: "Show of Strength"

"Show of Strength" by Echo & the Bunnymen would have to be in my top 100 songs of all time. This song is found on there debut album "Crocodiles."

One of my all time favourite band is Echo and the Bunnymen, managed and produced, from Liverpool, northern England. Trust the fad-happy Brit's to come up with some musical pot, spiked with the bold if somewhat naive acid-age expansion of the Doors, the 13th Floor Elevators and Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd. But instead of coming up with a mere handful of Nuggets, Echo and the Bunnymen strike solid rock by applying recent history–hard-core punk bash, the harmonic tangents of Public Image Ltd. and Joy Division, electronic pop à la Ultravox–to the sounds of yesteryear.
Echo and the Bunnymen dived straight into the mystic on their debut album, Crocodiles. Singer-guitarist Ian McCulloch specializes in a sort of apocalyptic brooding, combining Jim Morrison-style psychosexual yells, a flair for David Bowie-like vocal inflections and the nihilistic bark of his punk peers into a disturbing portrait of the singer as a young neurotic. Drugs are actually a sorry end, not a means, in "Villiers Terrace," a stroll through a gallery of acid casualties. Instead of dope, McCulloch trips out on his worst fears: isolation, death, sexual and emotional bankruptcy. Behind him, gripping music swells into Doors-style dirges ("Pictures on My Wall"), PiL-like guitar dynamics ("Monkeys"), spookily evocative pop ("Rescue") and Yardbirds-cum-Elevators ravers jacked up in the New Wave manner ("Do It Clean," "Crocodiles"). The chilling acoustic fragility of the band's original versions of "Pictures on My Wall" and "Read It in Books" (both released on a 1979 English single) has been jolted by the nervous, Byrds/Talking Heads-style jangle of Ian McCulloch's and Will Sergeant's electric guitars and the brittle snap of Pete De Freitas' drumming (Echo was the name of the group's first "drummer," a rhythm machine). Best song on the album is("Show of strength")which combines all the above and it's exactly this unnerving contrast between the colliding guitars and McCulloch's tortured yelp that gives Crocodiles its dramatic impetus.

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