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Sense

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We all know about the original Liverpool music scene, but what about the second, punkier one of the late ’70s that produced Echo and the Bunnymen, the Teardrop Explodes, and the solo career of Ian McCulloch? Well, some of the guys are still treading the boards. Ian Broudie produced the first few Bunnymen records; now he has his own band, The Lightning Seeds, whose second album, Sense, is full of winsome pop melodies, high-flying guitars and harmonies, and a blithe sense of fun. The sheer grandeur of the record’s best songs (”Tingle Tangle,” ”The Life of Riley”) might surprise you. B+ …And what of Ian McCulloch? The onetime head Bunnyman and current postpunk elder puts out records that are smart and well produced, but, like his new Mysterio they tend to be just an eentsy bit boring. ”Damnation” rocks out like the best of the Bunnymen, and McCulloch’s take on Leonard Cohen’s ”Lover Lover Lover” is subtle and pretty. But the rest is a little too mannered, and performed with too little conviction; it all sounds as if McCulloch has nothing at stake. B-

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