Less dour than the Cure but more somber than New Order, with a thorny mix of sadness and sunshine, Liverpudlian gloom-pop masters Echo & the Bunnymen were far weirder than they get credit for being. In their prolific ’90s-and-beyond reunion phase, they’ve attempted to smooth out the eccentricities in their sound (a detriment), but they’ve also focused attention on the assembly-line pop-song dynamo that is McCulloch and Sergeant.
Echo’s music has always been a shaken and stirred cocktail of Nuggets with a splash of Neil Diamond’s baritone and a sprig of Syd Barrett’s eccentricity. Try as they might to turn and not to face the strange on their recent output, that lunacy will always shine through.
The Fountain reveals that the magic of yore is still there. “Do You Know Who I Am” (a line that I am sure Mr. McCulloch has used with a drunken slur countless times through his life) mixes some lysergic-dripping guitar splatters with a gorgeous driving lilt, whereas “Shroud of Turin” is far sunnier and jauntier than a song with that title has any right to be.