Echo & the Bunnymen

New Live and Rare

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Compiling stray tracks from sources as far-flung as the Channel 4 program Play at Home and the soundtrack of the teen vampire flick The Lost Boys, New Live and Rare does a fine job of compiling the flotsam and jetsam from the heyday of Echo & the Bunnymen's career. While little of this material -- much of it covers -- is essential listening, it's nevertheless fascinating to explore this band that so proudly wore its influences on its sleeve, paying proper tribute to the artists it worships. For the opening cover of the Doors' "People Are Strange," the Bunnymen even recruited Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek to handle production duties. A strangely noncommittal version of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" falls flat, but live renditions of the Stones' "Paint It Black," the Velvets' "Run, Run, Run," and Television's "Friction" -- all culled from an April 1985 Swedish radio appearance -- fare better, if only because their moody, melancholy textures better complement the Bunnymen's disposition.

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