And on no record is the English quintet's greatness more apparent than on 1981's sophomore Heaven Up Here, the group's first effort to chart in the U.S. and a Top 10 smash in its native U.K. The record's merits are legion – and timeless: vocalist Ian McCulloch's cavernous croon; dream-weaving guitar lines pushed through ominous, melodic soundscapes; neopsychedelic dirges and self-aware lyrics; glamorous drama and tortuous tension. These characteristics and more turn the music restrained euphoria and what the band called "black magic."
Rife with thick atmospherics and brooding dreamscapes, the harrowing songs clatter amidst arrangements infused with requisite air, space, and chamber echoes. Silhouetted guitar leads help convey moody dampness, despair, dread, and disgust, the themes directly connected to narratives that tackle distrust, dishonesty, betrayal, and arrested dreams. Cloudy and jagged for certain, but the majesty of Heaven Up Here relates to how, in spite of the haunted arrangements and claustrophobic feel, ribbons of light and hope illuminate its shadowy corners and nocturnal glow.
Sharing much in common with Joy Division's period output and a precursor to later work by The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, Love and Rockets, Ride, and countless other U.K. artists, Heaven Up Here soars on Will Seargant's angular six-string blues, McCulloch's vampiric grayness, and etched, stair-stepping bass movements.
Mastered on our world-renowned mastering system and pressed at RTI, Silver Label numbered edition LP presents Echo and the Bunnymen's breakthrough in an involving fidelity that blows away what's on the original pressings and annihilates Rhino's CD remaster. Listeners will revel in the opened-up reverb, sound effects, complex tonalities, swimmy textures, and crafty overdubs that are so essential to the music. This is an 80s landmark, and if you like early U2, you need this album.