Echo and the Bunnymen
One of the (if not the) finest of the British post-punk exponents of the late '70s and one of the bright, shining lights of '80s music, Echo and the Bunnymen delivered a series of records that ranged from gloomy, muted blasts of dark guitars and moaning vocals to unabashed pop songs with glorious orchestral arrangements. At times frightening, at times beautiful, the band conjured up sullen images of mystery with their cloudy, swirling, psychedelic tapestries. Frontman Ian McCullough flaunted his permanently tousled and nicotine-addled persona through most of the English press of the '80s while his band backed him up with Doors-fueled dramatic dirges that grew into giant, arena-ready anthems for the darkly clad, pale art kids. This angular, epileptic pop could draw you into the glorious dregs of the underground as McCullough muttered post-Syd Barrett lyrical spirals on records like Heaven Up Here or sent you sailing across the deep blue orchestral seas of Ocean Rain. As the '80s closed, they achieved their biggest successes, filtering their original essence down to some catchy, at times brilliant, poetic alt-pop. Despite an ill-fated record sans McCullough in 1990, the band has kept their dignity in the time since. Most successfully, their 1999 release What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? showed the band were still capable of evoking their patented gloomy grandeur without falling victim to the dreaded "modern update."