Echo & The Bunnymen: The Cutter (1993)

Not your usual cut-price compilation, The Cutter is better than that. Imp usually handles this department, since they’re almost always impulse purchases, but the poor thing’s out of her field. Forget what you know about repackaged product and thank your lucky stars that someone went out on a limb with The Cutter. Hard-to-find B sides are as common as A sides, albums are represented by their best cuts rather than their best-known cuts, and Ocean Rain is given its due as the final word in a great career. All that and it’s cheaper (or was anyway) than the tiresome Songs To Learn & Sing. Listen to Songs and you’ve wrapped yourself in a wet blanket, but The Cutter makes clear the band’s dry sense of humor. Example: hearing Ian McCulloch sing “Get up / Stay on the scene / Like a sex machine” in the lyrical medley that closes their cover of “All You Need Is Love” is hilarious. And choosing “All My Life” from their eponymous 1987 album is a real treat, a case where the Morrissey’s-mind-in-the-mouth-of-Bono comparison is nearly inverted. The only tracks duplicated from Songs are “The Cutter” and “A Promise,” which are cornerstones of the canon. Supplements to the early years are the near-legend “Read It In Books” and a 1983 version of “Stars Are Stars” retitled “Ashes To Ashes.” In between, a playful live version of “Paint It Black” that again shows the band’s silly side and the evergreen “Crocodiles” (and here Songs wins the battle by including both sides of the nonalbum single “The Puppet/Do It Clean”). As if to further scoff at Songs, The Cutter chooses three entirely different tracks from Ocean Rain to close with. Any three songs from that album are likely to be brilliant, but closing the tape with a chunk of them together is a brave statement. If you can still find this, snag it. Whether you’re new to the band or have a few Bunnymen under your belt, The Cutter gets to the heart of their appeal.

The Songs
1. The Cutter
2. Bombers Bay (Will Sergeant/Ian McCullcoh/Les Pattinson)
3. Paint It Black (live) (Mick Jagger/Keith Richard)
4. All You Need Is Love (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
5. Ashes to Ashes (aka Stars Are Stars)
6. All My Life (Will Sergeant/Ian McCulloch/Les Pattinson)
7. A Promise (Will Sergeant/Ian McCulloch/Les Pattinson)
8. Read It In Books (Ian McCulloch/Julian Cope)
9. Crocodiles
10. Crystal Days
11. Ocean Rain
12. My Kingdom

All songs written by Will Sergeant/Ian McCulloch/Les Pattinson/Pete de Freitas unless noted.

The Plastic
This was originally released on March 1993 on CD and cassette in the UK (Pickwick, PK 406). It was re-released on September 1995 on CD and cassette in Germany (WEA, 91886).

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