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Tips like sugar: Things you should know about Echo & The Bunnymen

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Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant lead a new colony of Bunnymen these days.
Courtesy
Ian Caramanzana

Who: The seminal rock band has gone through a laundry list of members since forming in Liverpool in 1978. Now—after disbanding in 1993 and reforming in 1997—only founding members Ian McCulloch (vocals/guitar) and Will Sergeant (guitar) remain among a revolving door of fill-ins.

The sound: Echo & the Bunnymen began with three men (McCulloch, Sergeant and longtime bass player Les Pattinson) and a drum machine. The band’s early sound was darker, with moody melodies and brooding basslines, as evidenced on first single “Pictures on My Wall,” and the album on which that single was featured, Crocodiles, heralded as a classic in post-punk circles. Since then, Echo & the Bunnymen has incorporated New Wave, modern British rock and psychedelia. And its palate continues to expand: Its most recent release, 2014’s Meteorites, dives into Arabic melodies and a slimmed-down rhythm section.

Key releases: While Crocodiles allowed the band to achieve a cult following, the two subsequent albums, Heaven Up Here and Porcupine, put Echo & the Bunnymen on the world’s map, with poppy, palatable singles like “A Promise” and “The Cutter.” Both albums made waves on the UK’s charts, with the latter hitting the top 10 on the UK albums chart and as well as United States’ Billboard 200. Following the slew of successes, the band recorded with a 35-piece orchestra on the ambitious Ocean Rain, which—amid mixed initial reviews—has left an everlasting legacy. Haunting, dynamic string arrangements served as the backdrop to McCulloch and company’s funereal rock, best heard on songs like “The Killing Moon” and “Seven Seas.”

Fun facts: Echo & the Bunnymen’s songs appear in several places in pop culture: “The Killing Moon” appeared in the opening scene of the 2001 cult favorite Donnie Darko, and “Nocturnal Me” played in episode five of the wildly popular Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things. Furthermore, McCulloch has collaborated with pop music’s A-List, from the Spice Girls to Johnny Marr.

Echo & the Bunnymen July 28, 8 p.m., $38-$65. Brooklyn Bowl, 702-862-2695.

Tags: Music
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