Ian McCulloch
Holy Ghosts / Pro Patria Mori

Released: 22nd April 2013
Label: Edsel Records

When discussions are held over the greatest songwriters / frontmen, a name that I always put forward is Ian McCulloch. For me this is an artist who, for over thirty years, has given the world so much great music and has always looked like he was born to be fronting a band.

When news arrived of a double album from Ian, one disc consisting of Echo and The Bunnymen classics and solo material and one of new material, I found myself excitedly running to the mail every morning eagerly awaiting its arrival. Thankfully when the disc arrived my excitement was not a wasted venture, both these discs are truly endearing and will be sure to receive a lot of listens in my household.

Disc 1 ‘Holy Ghosts’ is predominantly a live recording of Bunnymen classics, the album has a very spiritual feel which is no surprise due to its live recording in the Union Chapel. These songs were made for this type of setting and recording, the orchestration and carefully thought out production has given these songs a very majestic feel that will take you away to a different universe. Fans of the band will no doubt instantly fall in love with this album, although I would say that this is not just a collectors item for fans. If you are just finding your way in your musical discovery, it would not hurt you to listen to songs like ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses’, ‘The Idolness of Gods’, ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, ‘The Killing Moon’ and ‘Lips Like Sugar’. I guarantee your life will never be the same again.

Disc 2 ‘Pro Patria Mori’ is a collection of new songs that was originally released last year funded through Pledge Music. Once again this is a collection of beautiful songs that have been put together with thought and belief. Listening to songs like ‘Empty As A House’, ‘Lift Me Up’, ‘Raindrop On The Sun’, ‘The Party’s Over’ and ‘Somewhere In My Dreams’ more than prove that Ian is a songwriter who is as important now as he has always been. The production on the album is perfect, the strings, keys and percussion are very atmospheric and full of imagery. Throughout the album Ian’s voice will take you away to a place of tranquility from which you may never want to leave. Highlights on the album? Well quite simply everything. It is an Ian McCulloch album and that, to me, will always be a highlight in my music collection.

Please don’t ignore this review and write me off as being an over excited fan, this is a double album that every record collection needs.

Steve Tay

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