On ”The Cutter” fellow Liverpool natives, Echo and The Bunnymen successfully wed the Eastern influenced psychedelic sounds made famous by hometown heroes, The Beatles. Crafting Eastern influences into a new post-punk hybrid that was sweeping England in the Early 80’s. It was songs like ”The Cutter” that would help define the newly coined Neo-psychedelic sub-genre, practiced by such group’s of the period as The Chameleons U.K., Psychedelic Furs and Simple Minds amongst others. The track opens with a keyboard approximation of Indian strings, whirring briefly before the band kicks into a percolating groove of popping bass, driving straight drums and chinking guitar accents. Ian McCulloch adds another layer of ’60 nostalgia, employing his expressive, slack-jawed vocal delivery that conjures aural images of the late Jim Morrison as he unfurls lines that drip with apprehension “Who’s on the seventh floor? / Brewing alternatives / What’s in the bottom drawer? / Waiting for things to give”. The Eastern strings re-enter at strategic points, filling in space between verses and McCulloch’s esoteric pleas to “spare us the cutter!”, which sounds like a good idea in any case. The arrangement also veers into epic territory quite unexpectedly in the second half, signaled by a sweeping wave of keyboard and McCulloch’s more subdued delivery as poses a string of rhetorically poignant questions, “Am I the happy loss? / Will I still recoil? / When the skin is lost / Am I the worthy cross? / Will I still be soiled? / When the dirt is off” -as the music swell behind him. Like any good single, the track never looses steam, cruising through each section with power and grace. A nod is in order for Ian Broudie, who’s smooth production helped The Cutter become Echo and The Bunnymen’s first top ten single in Britain and a linchpin track for the Neo-psychedelic movement.
from Porcupine (Sire 2-23770), available on CD (WEA)
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tracks composed by Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Pete DeFreitras, Les Pattinson