Review Summary: The Fountain of Eternal... *insert rude word here*
Echo & the Bunnymen's eleventh studio album The Fountain was a real low point for the band. That's doubly disappointing to say, as it followed on the coattails of 2005's Siberia. Siberia was the best record the band had put out since Ocean Rain, so the tantalizing possibility of a second wind was hanging in the air. Alas, The Fountain quickly and definitively snuffed such hopes.
The best moments on the record were still pretty great, though. Opener and lead single 'Think I Need It Too' was a slick, anthemic pop song. It had a catchy, radio friendly chorus that made it one of the band's better singles. 'Do You Know Who I Am' also had enough pace, pep and stomp to entertain as a bit of throwaway pop. The best song on the record, however, came in the form of 'Shroud Of Turin'. Echo & the Bunnymen have always had a knack for turning out epic, melodic ballads during their best moments. 'Shroud Of Turin' is another fine example, with beautiful weeping guitars and extended refrains. It was unquestionably the album's highlight.
But that's your lot. 'Forgotten Fields' is, well, forgettable. 'Life Of 1,000 Crimes' stutters it's way to sounding like a B-side from the Evergreen sessions. And those are easily the best of what's left. Otherwise expect a couple of insipid half-baked ballads ('The Fountain' & 'The Idleness Of Gods'), a grating plinky-plonky piano rocker ('Proxy') and a few truly forgettable bits of hookless bluster ('Drivetime' & 'Everlasting Neverendless'). There's not much more to say about any of these songs because they're so anodyne, unoriginal and unremarkable. They don't even have enough fight to be interestingly bad. One thing I will mention, however, is how slapdash the record seems. Other weaker Bunnymen efforts like Flowers or Evergreen at least had an overall vision. They felt like proper, cohesive albums. The Fountain by contrast simply feels like ten songs glued together and shoved out the door as quickly as possible. It's all just so uninspired.
The Fountain rounds out as arguably the worst Echo & the Bunnymen album. It's few good songs are completely overwhelmed by the surrounding sea of tedium. It's such a predictable, lazy and badly sequenced LP that it's hard to recommend to even the most diehard of Bunnymen fans. Drink from this fountain at your own peril.