Often dubbed as part of the post-punk movement, Echo And The Bunnymen formed 1978 and released their first album, Crocodiles, in July of 1980. In today’s album review, however, I’ll be digging into their 4th album, Ocean Rain.
Ocean Rain features a handful of the band’s more well-known singles, including “The Killing Moon, “Silver” and “Seven Seas.”
However, one of my favorites is the non-single track “Nocturnal Me.” You might recognize it from the end of Stranger Things Season 1, Episode 5. In fact, Ocean Rain made my list of 5 Must Have Records for Fans of Stranger Things. Take a listen below:
Ocean Rain Background and Variants
The album cover was designed by Martyn Atkins, and the photography was taken by Brian Griffin inside Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall.
The album’s various pressings include the 1984 ARC pressing, which is signified by the Allied logo stamped in the dead wax and a label variation with “Sire Records Company” info printed along the bottom rim of the label on both sides. This is the copy you’ll find in my collection and the one featured in photos in this review.
Other versions that have “SH” in the matrix/runout dead wax are also from 1984 and include an Allied Pressing and an SRC pressing, neither of which have the label rim text.
Here’s my unboxing video and review of the album:
Ocean Rain: Critical Reception & Influence
Compared to their previous work, Ocean Rain presents a slightly softer and more tempered side of the band. In its first week, the album reached number four on the UK charts and remained on the charts for 26 weeks. It also spent 172 weeks on the Billboard 200.
Initial reception to the album was mixed, though, with Parke Puterbaugh of Rolling Stone rating it two out of five stars and describing it as “too often a monochromatic dirge of banal existential imagery cloaked around the mere skeleton of a musical idea.”
However, over time, the album has garnered more favorable reviews. AllMusic’s Jason Ankeny considers “The Killing Moon” to be the band’s “unrivaled pinnacle,” while British music journalist Simon Reynolds describes the album as “lush, orchestrated and […] overtly erotic.”
It’s a Wrap
Sputnik Music notes that “Ocean Rain could easily please any fan of Post-Punk’s other leading groups, from The Cure to Depeche Mode to The Smiths.” But it’s Treble in a 2006 review from Ernest Simpson that wraps things up in a nice little package:
Ocean Rain at its simplest interpretation is a stellar pop album with accessible songs and lush melodies. At its most complex, it is a densely layered and intricate masterpiece, carefully constructed and performed with songs that either have multiple or no meanings, but always captivating.Ernest Simpson, Treble (2006)
There’s no denying the power of Ocean Rain. Fans of Echo and the Bunnymen, it often tops people’s lists of their favorite albums by the band, and its influence has extended to countless other musicians over the years.