Released exactly 34 years today.
On this day (May 4th) in 1984, Liverpudlian new wave band Echo & The Bunnymen dropped their fourth studio album 'Ocean Rain'. A huge critical and commercial success, it remains an important addition to the post-punk movement, with lead single 'The Killing Moon' being a staple on any 80s rock playlist.
Echo & the Bunnymen - Ocean Rain
For lovers of all things new wave, Echo & the Bunnymen were hugely influential. 'Ocean Rain' reached number 4 in the UK charts when it was released via the now defunct Korova Records, which makes it less commercially successful on a national scale than 1983's 'Porcupine', but - critically speaking - it's probably their best ever record.
Co-produced by Gil Norton (Pixies, Terrorvision) and Henri Loustau, the album featured the singles 'Silver', 'Seven Seas' and, of course, 'The Killing Moon'; the latter of which being one of those songs that makes 80s kids go, 'Ahh, that was what the 80s was about' and 90s kids wish that they had been born a decade earlier.
Mournful and thoroughly catchy, the song is a masterpiece for this group. Frontman Ian McCulloch once said that the lyrics came to him so fully formed one morning that he credits their creation to God. As for the melody, it's essentially the chords of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' played backwards; which is probably the secret to why it became such a hit; with a little inspiration from the Russian balalaika music.
Echo & the Bunnymen performed the singles live for the first time during a two-week youth festival they were headlining at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, but despite having teased these songs prior to the album release, they took a lot of reworking in the studio before the band were finally happy with them.
Most of the album was recorded in Paris' Studio Davout using a 35-piece orchestra. It's sad to note that full orchestras are rarely used in mainstream music today, given that it is so much more financially viable to use samplers and synthesizers.
As testament to how 'Ocean Rain' has remained such a classic, music from the record - both original and cover versions - have been used in hit shows the likes of 'Stranger Things', 'Misfits' and '13 Reasons Why', as well as cult films like 'Donnie Darko' and 'Gia'.
Now, 34 years on, Echo & the Bunnymen are preparing to release their thirteenth studio album 'The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon', which is out on October 5th 2018 via BMG Records.