At once ‘just’ a rock and roll band and somehow conjuring up a mysterious, compelling sound and impact that felt like it came from an undefinable source, Echo & the Bunnymen began their remarkable 1980s full length run with one of the era’s strongest debut albums, Crocodiles. The balance of Ian McCulloch’s resonant voice and striking lyrics, Will Sargeant’s spindly-but-strong guitars and the rush and chug of the Les Pattinson/Pete de Freitas was demonstrated over and over on songs like “Stars are Stars,” “Villiers Terrace” and “Rescue.”
It’s worth pointing out that, of the post-punk cohort, the Bunnymen may have been secretly the most traditional. Crocodiles is a Yardbirds album cranked up and stripped back, most songs under three minutes. Ian McCullough was the most baldly emotional of his gang, and the Bunnymen always charged straight ahead. The new Mods, and wickedly tight songwriters.