Music Reviews: Lykke Li, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Dan Loughry

Echo & The Bunnymen
* * *

Oh, shimmering and melodic post-punk, how I’ve missed you! As a fan of this band from whence they started 35 years ago, I’m thrilled to hear them back in such fine form. Anchored by only two founding members (charismatic vocalist Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant), Meteorites was produced by Youth and finds them digging deep to unearth celestial new sounds and sweeping vistas influenced mostly by their classic Ocean Rain period. Though it’s not a perfect record—I wish they’d given us even a few moments of some uptempo grit—when their melodic magic strikes gold, it reminds us they’re still capable of crafting dreamy, urgent and alluring soundscapes. Prime Cuts: “Holy Moses,” “Lovers on the Run,” “Is This a Breakdown” —Paul V.

Lykke Li
I Never Learn
(LL Records)
* * *

All is not well in the Lykke Li camp. She seems awfully sad. I Never Learn, her third LP since 2008, is intended to come across as delicate, wounded and fragile, and that’s certainly how she comes off. Unfortunately the album is flaccid, self-pitying and only occasionally glorious. The slow-to-mid-tempo pace of the album never relents, and songs like the titular track, “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone,” “Never Gonna Love Again” and “Sleeping Alone” thematically drag the sad state of affairs down even further. Li’s voice is is as strong as ever, but the album’s over-production leaves her sounding muddy and distant. As with all her albums, there are flashes of brilliance, but Lykke Li needs to stop feeling sorry for herself and have some fun. There’s not a “Get Some” in sight here. Prime Cuts: “Gunshot,” “Just Like A Dream,” “Heart of Steel” —Dominik Rothbard

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Days of Abandon
(Yebo Music LLC)
* * * *

There’s no doubt New York’s noise-pop band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart will get some stick for this third release, the relatively tuneful, straightforward Days of Abandon. Gone are the washes of feedback, the buried vocals, the (often thrilling) dissonance. Yet what remains is choice, especially since writer Kip Berman has doubled down on big, accessible hooks and the dreamy boy-girl vocals of the current indie mien. These songs aren’t reticent or twee; they reach out, grab you and hold on tightly. Tastemakers may scoff, since it’s the noise in the noise-pop they love, but for those who can go either way, this is high-grade stuff. Prime Cuts: “Beautiful You,” “Eurydice,” “Simple and Sure”

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