Echo & the Bunnymen: The Fountain

Echo & the Bunnymen’s best songs have always swelled with hopeless romance weighed against distress and an almost creepy sense of longing. The sweeping mood of their groundbreaking early ’80s records has steadily evaporated since their mid-’90s reformation, but concise pop tendencies have grown in its wake. The Fountain isn’t poorly executed, it’s just a bit samey. Ian McCulloch’s dark croon in “Shroud of Turin” and the title track evoke everything that ever made the group so fantastic. And Will Sergeant’s flourishing melodies are equally evocative in “Life of a Thousand Crimes,” the album’s strongest number. But 25 years ago these would have been killer B-sides. As such, The Fountain always take a backseat to such ’80s staples as Crocodiles, Porcupine, and Ocean Rain. (Great American) 3 stars out of 5