As a trench-coat visionary, Ian McCulloch remains something of a godfather to the masses of musical miserablists populating the the "NME" hot-lists -- a fact that ought to seal his irrelevance in a time capsule with eggs in hair, black lipstick and lips like sugar. McCulloch, however, has yet to truly disappoint in his ripe old age. "Slideling" shaves off some of the atmospheric pomp of the previous Echo and the Bunnymen reunion records to reveal a sparse and reflective troubadour in the vain of Bono's less vain moments. "Fill the sky with stars of wonder/ and don't you cry/ I don't like it like that," he warbles on "Arthur," and for the most part, it's that tempered optimism that prevails throughout "Slideling," a record that reads like a friendly note of wisdom from the other side. With Coldplay's Chris Martin guesting on the title track, the message is well wrought, to be sure. Someday he might be this sincere.
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