- Porcupine (album)
Infobox Album |
Name = Porcupine
Echo & the Bunnymen
Released = 4 February 1983
Trident Studios, Soho, London, Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Walesand Amazon Studios, Liverpool
Length = 44:56
Label = Korova, WEA, Sire
Allmusicrating|3.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0iftxqt5ldae~T1 link]
*"Blender" rating|4|5 [http://www.blender.com/guide/reviews.aspx?id=1999 link]
NME" (unfavourable)citation | last = Hoskyns | first = Barney | title = Echo & The Bunnymen: "Porcupine" (Korova) | magazine = NME| publication-date = 22 January 1983 | issn = 0028-6362 ]
Pitchfork Media(9.2/10) [http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/17359-crocodiles-heaven-up-here-porcupine-ocean-rain-echo-the-bunnymen link]
*"Stylus" (B−) [http://www.stylusmagazine.com/reviews/echo-and-the-bunnymen/porcupine.htm 2004]
Last album = "
Heaven Up Here" (1981)
This album = "Porcupine" (1983)
Next album = "
Ocean Rain" (1984)
Misc = Singles
Name = Porcupine
Type = album
Single 1 =
The Back of Love
Single 1 date = 21 May 1982
Single 2 = The Cutter
Single 2 date = 14 January 1983
"Porcupine" is the third
studio albumby the British post-punkband Echo & the Bunnymen. First released on 4 February 1983, it became the band's highest charting release when it reached number two on the UK Albums Chartdespite initially receiving poor reviews. It also reached number 137 on the U.S. "Billboard" 200, number 85 on the Canadian "RPM" 100 Albums and number 24 on the Swedish chart. In 1984 the album was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry. "Porcupine" included the singles " The Back of Love" and "The Cutter".
The album was recorded at
Trident Studiosin London, Rockfield Studiosin South Walesand Amazon Studios in Liverpool. It was produced by Ian Broudie, who was credited as "Kingbird" and who had co-produced the band's first album, 1980's "Crocodiles", and their second single, "Rescue". After being rejected by the band's label, the album was re-recorded with Shankar providing strings. It was originally released as an LP in 1983 before being reissued on CD in 1988. The album was again reissued on CD in 2003, along with the other four of the band's first five studio albums, having been remastered and expanded. A VHSvideo called "Porcupine – An Atlas Adventure" was also released containing six promotional videos of tracks from the album.
Background and recording
Following the release of "
Heaven Up Here" in 1981, Echo & the Bunnymen had difficulty writing new material for their next album despite rehearsing five days each week at The Ministry, their rehearsal room in Liverpool.Citation | last = Adams | first = Chris | year = 2002 | title = Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen | publisher = Soft Skull | page = 84 | isbn = 1-88712-889-1 ] While lead singer Ian McCulloch still wanted them to be the best band in the world, bass player Les Pattinsonwas expressing his weariness with the music industry, drummer Pete de Freitasproduced and played drums on Liverpool band The Wild Swans' debut single "Revolutionary Spirit", and lead guitarist Will Sergeantrecorded a solo album of instrumental music called "Themes for 'Grind'" (1982).
On 27 January 1982 Echo & the Bunnymen recorded their fourth session for British disc jockey
John Peel's radio show on BBC Radio 1. Of the tracks recorded, "Smack in the Middle" was renamed and became "Higher Hell" on the album, while "Taking Advantage" was renamed "The Back of Love" and became the band's third single which was also included on the album. Ian Broudie, who had co-produced 1980's " Crocodiles" and who was Sergeant's flat-mate, was chosen to produce "The Back of Love" and the band's third album, whose working title was "The Happy Loss".Adams, p.86] Adams, p.91] The single, which became the band's first UK Top 20 hit single, was recorded in early 1982 at Trident Studiosin Soho, London. This was unusual as the band's manager, Bill Drummond, had previously been keen to keep the band away from the temptations of London.cite album-notes | title = Porcupine | bandname = Echo & the Bunnymen| year = 2003 | notestitle = Wayo! And up they go. | first = Max | last = Bell | format = CD booklet | publisher = Warner Music UK | publisherid = 2564-61163-2 ] The recording session for "The Back of Love" went well, but the relationship between the band members was strained, with them either not speaking to each other or, when they did, arguing. [Adams, pp.86–87] Drummond was aware of the tensions within the band and so arranged a tour in Scotland for April 1982. This was done in an effort to make the band work harder, write some songs, and to communicate with each other. Drummond's plan failed to work as following the tour there was still tension between the band members.Adams, p.87] Two other album tracks – "Clay" and "My White Devil" – were first played during the tour of Scotland.
Following the release of "The Back of Love" on 21 May 1982, the band spent the summer, first playing at the inaugural WOMAD festival, and then playing at various European music festivals. After the summer the band resumed recording the album at
Rockfield Studiosin South Wales– which had been used for the band's first two albums – and also at Amazon Studios in Liverpool. Recording the album was a slow process, de Freitas said, "Porcupine" was very hard to actually write and record [...] "Heaven Up Here" was pure confidence, we did it really quickly; we had a great time doing it – but this one was like we had to drag it out of ourselves." McCulloch later said that when recording the album, the mood between the band members was "horrible".
When presented with the finished album, WEA rejected it as "too uncommercial".Adams, p.92] The band agreed to re-record the album, despite Sergeant's complaints. Using the original version of the album as a blueprint, the follow-up recording sessions went more smoothly. Drummond brought Shankar back to add strings to the other tracks on the album. It was these sessions that produced the band's next single, "The Cutter", which was released in January 1983 and went on to become the band's first Top 10 hit. [Adams, 94–95] Citation | date = 2006 | editor-last = Roberts | editor-first = David | title = British Hit Singles & Albums | edition = 19th | publisher =
HIT Entertainment| isbn = 1-90499-410-5 ]
"Porcupine – An Atlas Adventure"
After Echo & the Bunnymen had finished recording "Porcupine" they played a free show in early November 1982 for formatnum:20000 people at
Sefton Parkin Liverpool. Following this, WEA asked for three music videos and album art for the new album. The band's lighting engineer Bill Butt was chosen to direct the videos and Brian Griffin was chosen to take the photographs for the album's cover – as he had done for the band's two previous albums. With a budget of £formatnum:16000 Butt decided that it would be possible to get the photographs for the album cover and also to produce a half-hour film.Adams, pg.93] Deciding that he wanted the videos to reflect the frigid feel of the music on the album, Butt chose to shoot the videos in Scotland. However, it was not certain that there would be enough snow in Scotland during November so Iceland was chosen as the location to shoot the videos.
Filming took place on and near the frozen
Gullfosswaterfall near Reykjavik. Feeling it was a dangerous process, McCulloch said in 1993, "If we had slipped there wasn't anything for hundreds of feet below us." In 2001 Griffin said, " [...] the sun barely appeared the whole time we were there. To walk, stand up, or just think seemed a massive effort." Despite the danger the filming proved its worth when the British music magazine "Q" said in 2001, "The "Porcupine" cover is the epitome of rock band as heroic archetype – young men on some ill-defined but glorious mission, one easily as timeless as the stars and the sea."Adams, pg.94] The filming was finished in December 1982 with the band performing songs from the album at their rehearsal room at The Ministry. Butt interspersed this with clips from the 1929 Russian documentary "The Man With the Movie Camera" and he also projected psychedelic watercolour effects onto the band. A VHSvideo was subsequently released by Castle Hendring in 1983 called "Porcupine – An Atlas Adventure" which contained the six music videos – "In Bluer Skies", "The Cutter", "My White Devil", "Porcupine", "Heads Will Roll" and "The Back of Love".
Describing the album cover, journalist Dave Rimmer wrote in British music magazine "
Smash Hits", "Iceland does seem an appropriate location for this group. It's isolated, cold, bleak and fits perfectly with the moody image they've attracted to themselves." [citation | last = Rimmer | first = Dave | title = Echo & The Bunnymen | magazine = Smash Hits| date = 3 February 1983 | issn = 0260-3004 ]
After WEA rejected the first version of the album, Shankar – who had played strings on "The Back of Love" – was brought back by Drummond to add strings to the remainder of the album in an effort to give it a brighter production and to build on the success of the strings used on the single. When recording "The Cutter", Sergeant had asked Shankar if he could suggest the
melodyfrom Cat Stevens' 1967 hit " Matthew and Son".
In 1984 McCulloch said, "I think "Porcupine" was a classic autobiographical album, the most honest thing that I'd ever written or sung."Adams, p.101] Talking about how the album made him feel, he went on to say, "I found the material from it really heavy to play – like, really oppressive. That's the only reason why I didn't like the album. The songs were great but it didn't make me happy." He also said, "A lot of songs are about coming to terms with the opposites in me."Adams, p.103]
"Porcupine" was first released as an LP by Korova in the
United Kingdomon 4 February 1983. It was subsequently released in the United Statesby Sire Recordson 23 February 1983. The original album had ten tracks with five tracks on each side. Like Echo & the Bunnymen's previous album, the album coverwas designed by Martyn Atkins and the photographywas by Brian Griffin.cite album-notes | title = Porcupine | bandname = Echo & the Bunnymen| year = 1983 | format = LP sleeve notes | publisher = Korova | publisherid = KODE 6 ] The album was released on CD on 7 April 1988.
Along with the other four of the band's first five albums, "Porcupine" was
remastered and reissued on CD in 2003 – these releases were marketed as 25th anniversary editions. Seven bonus trackswere added to the album: "Fuel" was the second B-side track on the 12-inch version of " The Back of Love"; alternate versions of "The Cutter", "My White Devil", "Porcupine", "Ripeness" and "Gods Will Be Gods" which were all early versions recorded during the album's sessions; and "Never Stop (Discotheque)" the 12-inch version of the non-album single which was released after "Porcupine".cite album-notes | title = Porcupine | bandname = Echo & the Bunnymen| year = 2003 | format = CD booklet | publisher = Warner Music UK | publisherid = 2564-61163-2 ] The alternate versions of "My White Devil", "Porcupine" and "Ripeness" had all previously been unissued. The reissued album was produced by Andy Zaxand Bill Inglot.
There were two tracks from the original "Porcupine" album which had been released as singles. The first of these was "
The Back of Love" which had been released on 21 May 1982. The second single was "The Cutter" which was released on 14 January 1983. "Never Stop (Discotheque)", which was originally a non-album single when it was released on 8 July 1983, was subsequently included on the 2003 remastered version of the album as a bonus track.
Following the release of "Porcupine" in 1983, "
NME" reviewer Barney Hoskynsgave the album a negative review. Hoskyns wrote, "Porcupine" is the distressing occasion of an important and exciting rock group becoming ensnared by its own strongest points, a dynamic force striving fruitlessly to escape the brilliant track that trails behind it." Hoskyns likened the sound of the album to the band "turning on their own greatest 'hits' and savaging them". Hoskyns also criticised McCulloch's lyrics and the general mood of the album, noting, "Only on 'Porcupine' itself do the various strains of despair coalesce", and dismissd the entire second side of the album, saying it "horrifies the more for its uniform lack of inspiration, for the fact that every number cops direct from earlier songs without preserving anything of their energy or invention".
In a review of the original release on
Allmusic, "Porcupine" was described as a "solid outing", a "noticeably better listen than it's predecessor, "Heaven Up Here" and "well worth hearing". [cite web | last = Cleary | first = David | title = Porcupine > Review | url = http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0iftxqt5ldae~T1 | publisher = Allmusic| accessdate = 2008-05-16 ] When reviewing the remastered 2003 version the review was expanded to add that new release was "a very well done expansion of an already fine album". [cite web | last = Sendra | first = Tim | title = Porcupine [Bonus Tracks]> Review | url = http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:abfpxqwaldje~T1 | publisher = Allmusic | accessdate = 2008-05-16 ] "Blender" magazine described the album in a review on their website as "impossibly exciting pop-rock" [cite web | last = Harrison | first = Andrew | title = Echo & the Bunnymen (various reissues) | url = http://www.blender.com/guide/reviews.aspx?id=1999 | publisher = Blender.com | accessdate = 2008-05-16 ] and Pitchfork Mediacalled the album "the band's definitive statement" and described the track " The Back of Love" as "the astonishing highlight of the group's career". [cite web | last = Tangari | first = Joe | date = 3 March 2004 | title = Echo & The Bunnymen : Crocodiles / Heaven Up Here / Porcupine / Ocean Rain / Echo & The Bunnymen | url = http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/record_review/17359-crocodiles-heaven-up-here-porcupine-ocean-rain-echo-the-bunnymen | publisher = Pitchfork Media| accessdate = 2008-05-16 ] The album appeared in the 1983 end of year critics' lists for both " Melody Maker", where it was listed at number nine, [citation | title = 1983 Melody Maker Albums | magazine = Melody Maker| url = http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/mmpage.html#1983 | issn = 0025-9012 | accessdate = 2008-05-16 ] and "NME", where it was listed at number 32. [citation | title = 1983 NME Albums | magazine = NME | url = http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/1983.html | accessdate = 2008-05-16 | issn = 0028-6362 ] The album is also listed in the 2006 book " 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". [cite book | title = 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die| editor = Robert Dimery | publisher = Universe | year = 2006 | isbn = 0-7893-1371-5 ]
The album reached number 2 on the UK Albums Chart, number 137 on the U.S. "Billboard" 200,cite web | title = Echo & the Bunnymen > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums | url = http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fifyxqe5ldhe~T5 | publisher = Allmusic | accessdate = 2008-04-03 ] number 85 on the Canadian "RPM" 100 Albums, [cite journal | title = RPM 100 Albums | journal = RPM | volume = 38 | issue = 5 | url = http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.6212b&volume=38&issue=5&issue_dt=April%2002%201983&type=1&interval=24&PHPSESSID=a2hs8ggskk6l746tnnfumk6l42 | date = 2 April 1983 | issn = 1196-636X | accessdate = 2008-07-05 ] and number 24 on the Swedish albums chart. [cite web | title = Discography Echo & The Bunnymen | url = http://swedishcharts.com/showinterpret.asp?interpret=Echo+%26+The+Bunnymen | publisher = swedishcharts.com | accessdate = 2008-04-01 ] Having sold over formatnum:100000 copies of the album in the UK, Echo & they Bunnymen were awarded with a gold disc by the British Phonographic Industry. [cite web| url=http://www.bpi.co.uk/| title=Statistics: UK Bestsellers| publisher =
British Phonographic Industry| accessdate=2008-05-14] Of the singles from the album, "The Back of Love" reached number 19 on the UK Singles Chart and "The Cutter" reached number 8. "The Back of Love" also became the band's first single to make the Irish Singles Chart when it reached number 24,cite web | title = The Irish Charts - All there is to know | url = http://www.irishcharts.ie/search/placement | publisher = Irish Recorded Music Association| year = 2008 | accessdate = 2008-03-28] while "The Cutter" reached number 10. The single "Never Stop (Discotheque)" reached number 15 on the UK Singles Chart and number 8 on the Irish Singles Chart.
All tracks written by
Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinsonand Pete de Freitas.
#"The Cutter" – 3:56
The Back of Love" – 3:14
#"My White Devil" – 4:41
#"Clay" – 4:15
#"Porcupine" – 6:01
#"Heads Will Roll" – 3:33
#"Ripeness" – 4:50
#"Higher Hell" – 5:01
#"Gods Will Be Gods" – 5:25
#"In Bluer Skies" – 4:33
2003 bonus tracks
- "Fuel" – 4:09
#"The Cutter" (Alternate Version) – 4:10
#"My White Devil" (Alternate Version) – 5:02
#"Porcupine" (Alternate Version) – 4:04
#"Ripeness" (Alternate Version) – 4:43
#"Gods Will Be Gods" (Alternate Version) – 5:31
#"Never Stop (Discotheque)" – 4:45
"Porcupine – An Atlas Adventure"
#"In Bluer Skies"
#"My White Devil"
#"Heads Will Roll"
#"The Back of Love"
*Ian McCulloch – vocals,
Will Sergeant– lead guitar
Les Pattinson– bass
Pete de Freitas– drums
*Shankar – strings
Ian Broudie– producer
*Dave Bascombe – engineer
*Paul Cobald – engineer
*Colin Fairley – engineer
*Dave Woolley – engineer
*Steve Short – engineer
*Steve Presige – engineer
*Brian Griffin –
*Martyn Atkins – cover design
Andy Zax– producer (reissue)
*Bill Inglot – producer (reissue),
*Dan Hersch – remastering (reissue)
*Rachel Gutek – cover design (reissue)
* [http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/echo_and_the_bunnymen/albums.jhtml?albumId=374368 Original album lyrics at MTV.com]
- "Fuel" – 4:09
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