Echo & the Bunnymen
caught the group at a fortuitous career juncture; the clutch of songs here were among the hookiest and most memorable the band would ever write, while the arrangements are noticeably clean and punchy, mostly eliminating strings and similar clutter to focus almost exclusively on guitars, keyboards, drums, and occasional percussion touches. The warmly expressive "All My Life," which might perhaps have received an overheated arrangement on prior albums, benefited especially from this approach. The band rocked out convincingly on other selections, such as "Satellite" and "All in Your Mind." Pete DeFreitas
' solid drumming at times veered toward the danceable on tracks like "Lost and Found," "Lips Like Sugar," and the overtly Doors
-influenced "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo." Surprisingly, vocalist Ian MuCulloch
appeared to have rediscovered the maxim "less is more"; his singing was comparatively restrained and tasteful, resulting in a more natural, unforced emotiveness that was extremely effective. The production values were excellent, with many subtle touches that do not detract from the album's overall directness. In short, doing it clean really paid off here.