Redeye Records, 2008
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/14/2009
I’m having a crisis of personal faith. Maybe it’s me. Maybe, somehow, I’ve failed; I’m just not good enough anymore. Because it couldn’t be that Great Big Sea, one of the constants in my severely chaotic universe, could be slipping? Could it? COULD IT?
*brief pause to take a tranquilizer*
OK. Maybe it’s not me. Maybe Great Big Sea’s new disc, Fortune’s Favour, just isn’t quite...I don’t know if I can say this...maybe it’s just not as good as some of their releases have been in the past. Maybe there are parts of it that are almost – dare I say it? – mediocre? Has Great Big Sea jumped the shark?
I hope not, but Fortune’s Favour doesn’t make me very hopeful.
The hardest part of this for me is to identify what just doesn’t work. The musicianship is still great, the production and engineering is tight – what fails on FF is the songs. Every single track on this disc seems like it’s a derivative of a past GBS song. “England” sounds like “Captain Wedderburn.” “Long Lost Love” could be “Summer” redux. “Dream To Live” could be any one of a dozen upbeat GBS songs. There seems to be a certain fire and originality missing here that leaves this unsatisfying on some level. Added to that, that there are a couple of songs that are just...not right; I don’t know what possessed the boys to record “Oh Yeah,” but someone should tell them they are not Winger. “Heart Of Stone” is almost as disappointing; it puts me in mind of a music box that someone hasn’t wound up enough, meandering along to a maudlin conclusion.
Then there are the songs that are good; good enough to make you wonder what the hell happened to the rest of the CD. “Walk On The Moon,” “Here And Now,” the haunting “Banks Of Newfoundland” – this is the GBS I know and love. “Company Of Fools” is a delight, and “Dance Dance” actually has some Celtic music in it. “Straight To Hell” closes the album on an upbeat, defiant note, and makes me want to throw my fists in the air.
I am reminded of what Dave said from my review of The Hard And The Easy, that GBS had lost their roots; I’m beginning to wonder if he’s right. Fortune’s Favour really isn’t either favored or good fortune; if anything, it’s half a good disc that disappoints badly with the other half.