Echo and The Bunnymen

Since reclaiming the moniker in 1997, mainstays Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant have grappled with issues of age and relevance, but Siberia is their first effort since re-forming to actually embrace their classic sound. Yearning, thoughtful and poetic, the new cuts are just a notch below such early '80s classics as "The Killing Moon" and "The Cutter." McCulloch's voice is a bit lower in register, and he doesn't have the wonderfully narcissistic chutzpah of the band's heyday, but guitarist Sergeant is still running off a myriad of fantastic riffs and delicate phrases. The effort's finest cuts are almost certainly due to him. "All Because of You Days" and "Scissors in the Sand" offer the kind of patented hooks that made Bunnymen's sound so original nearly 25 years ago. Opening cut "Stormy Weather" (not the jazz standard) is McCulloch at his best: brooding, emotionally distraught and characteristically blasé. The rest of Siberia holds suit, blending the aloof with the immediate. Both men have apparently (and thankfully) decided that recognizing the past is the only way of taking on the future.

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