Liverpool's favorite lads Echo & the Bunnymen battled the cathartic reign of the Smiths and the enigmatic synth pop of Depeche Mode and New Order throughout the '80s movement of redesigned post-punk, and they became a staple image as well. Songs to Learn & Sing marked the Bunnymen's cemented place in new wave and relished the crooning ambience of frontman Ian McCulloch. This collection recalls the rise and steadfast career of the band, highlighting the Bunnymen's work between 1980 and 1985 and collecting the most prominent tracks that made the band the waxed poetics the British press hailed them to be (specifically on older cuts like "Do It Clean" and "Rescue"). Frequent use of the band's classic drum machine or "echo" was also a major feature in Bunnymen tracks, especially on the vibrant dance cuts "Never Stop" and "Back of Love." With various production work from the Lightning Seeds' Ian Broudie and Chameleons and Zoo labelmates David Balfe and Bill Drummond (the KLF), Echo & the Bunnymen achieved great cult status throughout the '80s stream of U.K. pop music. Songs to Learn & Sing is a solid and comprehensive collection of the band's material, also introducing the previously unissued album track "Bring on the Dancing Horses," which was featured on the soundtrack to the Molly Ringwald film Pretty in Pink (1986).
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson