Echo & the Bunnymen - The Fountain - 2009 Ocean Rain Records
I had planned on reviewing the Bunnymen's latest back in November when it was released. Once I had started writing the review I came the the conclusion that to really say what I wanted to say I would have to write an overview of the band's career divided into two parts: pre and post Pete DeFreitas. I got about halfway through writing and realized that it was becoming a short novel. Now we are back to the plain and simple review....4 months late.
The Fountain is the latest release from post-punk pioneers Echo & The Bunnymen. The first to be released in the US on the bands own dime via their Ocean Rain Records. If you are to believe EATB's lead crooner Ian McCulloch, The Foutain is the greatest record that the band has yet to record. Fortunately for me I stopped believing the one man hype machine called Ian McCulloch years ago. Rightfully so because The Fountain is far from being the best thing in the B-Men's extensive recording catalogue. In fact, it may well be their worst. That's not to say that it is a terrible album - if you were to tell me that this was the new Coldplay album (or pick any other band from that genre) I might tell you that it was pretty good. But when stacked up against everything EATB has released, pre and post DeFreitas, The Fountain is, sadly, mediocre. The first three tracks almost seem to blend into each other - nothing really stood out. It isn't until track 4, "Shroud of Turin", that my ears perked up and I began to get a sense of something , interesting and catchy. The following track, "Life Of A Thousand Crimes", with a beat similar to their hit "Bedbugs & Ballyhoo" is also quite catchy and has a memorable chorus. The title track is one song that could have been great but suffers from a horribly muddy mix that is hard to get your ears around. The ultimate disappointment of The Fountain is guitarist Will Sargeant. It breaks my heart to say this of somebody who has done nothing but blow me away with his guitar playing for the last 30 years - but he really seems to be phoning it in here. My one really lasting impression of this new Bunnymen album is "wow, Will has really lost interest". If this is what we are to expect from this great, great band, then I will soon follow suit